Voter Service Report 2019
Sandy Smith, LWVPA member in charge of registration, reported that the following events were covered by about 10 volunteers, some of whom covered more than one event:
Sept. 18, Princeton library Citizenship Day (12 new citizens registered; 3 reg forms and 11 vote by mail forms)
Sept. 22, Plainsboro festival; registered 5 and gave out 2 forms
Sept. 24, Voter Reg Day, Plainsboro Library (reg 5, 4 forms)
Sept. 28, West Windsor library (reg. 2, 2 forms)
Oct. 7, South Brunswick library (reg. 4)
Oct. 17, Stonebridge (reg. 14)
In total, 42 registered, 11 registration forms distributed and 11 Vote-by-Mail forms.
As she has done for many years, Joan Bharucha registered at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market for the four Saturdays in September. She handed out voter registration forms to 18 individuals. She also gave a handful of forms to a woman who was going to register with a group. She gave out 9 Vote-by-Mail forms and a large number of the VOTE411 business-size cards, which she finds handy for publicizing VOTE411.
Chrystal Schivell is the member in charge of VOTE411.org and Forums. She reported that five LWVPA members sent questionnaires to 97 candidates across the state, of whom 57 responded. This is 59%, compared to a 70% response rate last year. However candidates in races within the Princeton Area and Mercer County responded 83% of the time this year. Perhaps they are more aware of VOTE411 and more accustomed to our questionnaires than candidates in far-flung counties.
The numbers from LWVUS about how many voters viewed VOTE411 are not yet available, but it is anticipated that Megan will let us know.
See accompanying chart for details about VOTE411 candidate responses.
Mercer County Executive
The Leagues of Hopewell Valley, East Windsor-Hightstown, Lawrence, and Princeton along with Princeton Community TV attempted to co-sponsor a forum among the two candidates for Mercer County Executive. The Republican declined the invitation, and the forum was canceled.
16th Legislative District
The Princeton League, with support from Somerset/Hunterdon (a League in the process of being realized), invited the four candidates for the 16th Legislative District to a forum. Lee Forbes advised about venues. The Democrats accepted, but the Republicans responded that their schedule was already too full. The forum was canceled.
Jean Nitzberg, a member of the Princeton League and resident of Hamilton, spear-headed organizing a forum for the two Hamilton mayoral candidates to be sponsored by the East Windsor-Hightstown League with the assistance of its Robbinsville members. LWVPA would have assisted at the forum and provided video. After weeks of back-and-forth emails regarding date, place, security, etc., the Republican incumbent declined to participate. The forum was canceled.
Princeton Board of Education
The four candidates agreed readily, and a forum was held on October 2 at Monument Hall in Princeton.
Thirty-seven people attended. Elizabeth Bates, Grace Sinden and John Schivell assisted. Princeton Community TV, the co-sponsor, broadcast video of the forum. It ranked as the fourth most-watched program on Princeton TV in October. Vimeo records show that 3,055 voters at least looked at the video, 83 viewed it all. The average time watched was 42%.
Two Democrats and an Independent were invited to a forum to be held at Monument Hall in Princeton. It was difficult to find a date, and the Democrats did not want to hold a back-to-back forum with the BOE on October 2, when all candidates were available. Negotiations continued, and a studio forum became the only option as venues became booked. The Democrats eventually agreed, and the forum was videotaped on October 22 and posted on October 24. It was also broadcast and within a week became the seventh most-watched program on Princeton TV for October. 1,156 voters at least looked at the video, 101 viewed it all. The average time watched was 48%, according to Vimeo.
Chrystal Schivell, Elizabeth Bates, Kip Cherry, and Bernie Miller created questions for VOTE411 and the forums. Chrystal organized all forums except Hamilton.
Jeanne Turner, LWVPA member in charge of LWVUS’s Get Out the Vote pilot program, reported that participation from our local League in making phone calls using the national League’s new Van dialing service to Get Out the Vote was minimal. It appeared that only five of our members participated and logged just under 10 hours of calls. Speculation was that the low numbers were due to its being an off year election.