FEBRUARY/MARCH NEWSLETTER

Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy

     

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Table of Contents
-- President's Message
-- The League Experience
-- Issues and Advocacy
-- Did You Know?
-- Youth Committee
-- Help Wanted
-- Black History
-- Voter Services
-- Mar 9 Panel on NYS ERA
-- Mar 9 LWV NYS Regional Training

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     President's Message
 
By Lizbeth Thalheimer

Hello everyone. Welcome to our new and improved LWV of Huntington Newsletter. I'm Lizbeth Thalheimer, president of the League of Women Voters of Huntington. I am an architect, and have lived with my family in Northport since 1992. I have been a member of the League for many years, and was elected president in June of 2020. I can never remember a time that I did not care deeply about our right and obligation to vote.

My parents came from Cuba where they woke up one morning and all their rights had been taken away. They taught me to never take my country and freedom for granted. When I turned 18, my mother went to the post office and brought home a voter registration form for me. I voted in that election and I've never looked back. Though she and I never agreed on anything political, we often voted together. I'm pretty sure we cancelled out each other's vote every single time. This brings me back to why I love being part of LWV so much. I receive great satisfaction when talking to people and helping them register to vote, no matter their political views. I've attended many naturalization ceremonies and speaking with brand new citizens, like my family once were, is incredibly gratifying. Seeing the joy and pride when a new citizen hands me their completed voter registration form is something I will carry with me always.

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    The League Experience: Meeting Elected Officials
 
by Frances Cerra Whittelsey

One of the privileges of being a reporter, as I was for Newsday and The New York Times, was the freedom to question elected officials about their policies, votes and actions. Now, as a member of the Huntington League's Issues and Advocacy Committee I have that privilege again. And this time, instead of trying my best to be neutral, I have the additional privilege of advocating for specific legislation and actions that are the result of consensus reached after study and discussion by the Huntington and New York State Leagues and national league.

Because the League never supports candidates, we are welcomed by our elected officials. There's no need to be shy, as I was before I took the leap to being a reporter. You are not just yourself in these meetings. You have the weight of the organization behind you. The officials expect us to come armed with questions and briefing information that we leave behind.

Recent meetings with NY State Senator Mario Mattera (R) and Assembly Member Keith Brown (R) were typical. Both men readily agreed to meet with me and other I&A representatives, greeted us warmly, spent an hour each listening to us and responding to our questions, and finished off with a group photo.

Click here to read more > >

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Issues and Advocacy: Water Quality Act
on the Ballot in November
 
by Stephanie Quarles

As Chair of the Issues & Advocacy Committee, I attended a press conference on February 5, held by Suffolk County Executive Edward P. Romaine and Suffolk County Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, announcing that the water quality measure is moving forward.

They announced a nonpartisan amendment (A8993) to the Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act to enable the proposal to be on the ballot in November. Voters will then decide whether to add 1/8 cent to the county sales tax to pay for sewers and advanced septic systems.

This year, we will also be advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which will be on the November ballot to protect the rights of all. Our New York State Constitution is wholly inadequate in ensuring equality for groups who have been historically targeted,including those with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, immigrants, women, and pregnant women. To find out more, click READ MORE >>

The Issues & Advocacy committee will also be scheduling our annual meetings to converse with government officials. We plan to meet with the Town of Huntington Supervisor, Town Councilmembers, our Suffolk County Legislators, and state officials once the LWV New York State's legislative program is announced.

If you'd like to join us, contact me, Stephanie Quarles, Director and Chair of the Issues & Advocacy Committee at 631-257-7001 or LWVHuntingtonNYI&A@gmail.com

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   Did You Know?
 
by Frances Cerra Whittelsey

You must be 18 to vote, but teenagers 16 or 17 can pre-register so that once they turn 18 there's nothing left to do but show up at the polls-and vote!

In 2020, the NYS Legislature and Governor passed legislation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds the right to "Pre-Register" to vote. And that is very helpful in getting our youth registered and civically engaged. Everyone still needs to be 18 to actually cast a vote, but this legislation takes away some of the barriers to getting high school students registered before they graduate. It's no secret that high school seniors are very busy getting ready to graduate and pursue trade or college careers and attend the end of year prom and other celebrations. Registering to vote can get lost in the excitement and activity of graduation.

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Youth Committee: 296 Registered
at Brentwood High
 
by Mary Speed Perri


We're off to a great start!

Our LWV Huntington Youth Committee started off 2024 strong with a very successful Voter Registration Training and three-day Voter Registration Drive held at Brentwood High School in early January. The result was 296 new registered voters!

Four of our Committee members coordinated with Social Studies Teacher Ms. Jessica Johnson, who heads the Brentwood High School Government Club to conduct an on-site training for the students on how to register their peers in a nonpartisan way at their upcoming Voter Registration Drive. Our team visited their club and presented a short Power Point outlining Voter Registration specifics. We handed out the actual registration forms and guided the student volunteers on how to accurately fill out the form and how to answer questions in a nonpartisan way. The entire process took under 40 minutes! We then assisted the student volunteers on the first day of their upcoming 3-day Voter registration drive the following week.

Many thanks to Ms. Johnson and the League volunteers, Loretta Chillemi, Deb Cosher, Barbara Kurek who were with me. More High School and college Voter registration trainings and events are scheduled for Spring 2024. If you would like to be part of this great civic outreach, please contact us at lwvhuntingtonny@gmail.com or 631-257-7001.

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    Help Wanted: An Event Chair
 
by Frances Cerra Whittelsey


The Huntington League WANTS YOU.

Are you a good planner, who sweats the details, and wants to help the League present its face to the public? Then we need YOU to take charge of public event planning.
  • Expected time commitment is mostly seasonal -- a few hours in the Fall & Spring
  • LWV will provide the names of all the venues we would like to participate in, including for example, The Huntington Fall Festival and Huntington Unity Day
  • You will be responsible to contact the venues, fill out the applications, and submit them
  • You will be responsible for scheduling volunteers, but you do not need to attend the function unless you'd like to
To find out more or to apply for the position, e-mail lwvhuntingtonny@gmail.com

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Black History: What the 19th Amendment
Meant for Black Women
 
by Martha Jones of Politico Magazine

Passage of the 19th Amendment meant victory for white suffragists, but as this article in Politico points out, for Black women it was the beginning of a new fight.

In August 1920, women across America celebrated the adoption of the 19th Amendment. At the National Womanís Party headquarters in Washington, Alice Paul, the groupís leader, triumphantly unfurled a banner displaying 36 stars, one for each state that had voted to ratify the womenís suffrage amendment. For Paul and the many suffragists who had picketed the White House or paraded along Pennsylvania Avenue, it was the culmination of decades of work. The next step was getting new women voters registered in anticipation of the fall election.

Click here, to READ MORE >>

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    Voter Services: Naturalization Ceremonies
 
by Nancy Holliday and Dianne Slavin

The Voter Services Committee's charge is to register and educate voters. This month we have 14 volunteers scheduled to attend 7 Naturalization Ceremonies. At ceremonies on Feb.8 and 9 we assisted 80 new citizens to register to vote. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The ceremonies in Suffolk County take place at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

Judge Joseph Bianco from the US Court of Appeals for the Second District presided over the ceremony and administered the oath. Judge Bianco gave a spirited and moving speech to new citizens, stressing the significance and validity of their citizenship, the importance of making their voice heard through active participation in our voting process and the fact that every vote counts. Judge Bianco encouraged the citizens to register to vote and thanked the League for our attendance to assist in the registration process.

Students from St. Anthony's High School attended the February 8 ceremony to observe. On February 9, home schooled students attended to observe.

These are among the most gratifying voter registration events in which we participate. It is a wonderful experience for all involved.

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