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Voter Service Primer LWVNYS 2011 Convention Friday, 1:45 – 2:00.

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Presentation on theme: "Voter Service Primer LWVNYS 2011 Convention Friday, 1:45 – 2:00."— Presentation transcript:

1 Voter Service Primer LWVNYS 2011 Convention Friday, 1:45 – 2:00

2 Voter Service Educational and service activities related to the voting process, typically: – Voter registration drives – Voters Guides – Candidate events (debates, forums, meet the candidates, etc) NOT (never) advocacy

3 Voter Service Can also include: – Services for new citizens, such as VR and info services at naturalization ceremonies – Services for college students, such as VR drives – Services for high school students, such as Vote18, VR drives for HS seniors, etc. – Other youth services, “Take me to Vote” e.g.

4 Voter Services Chair Needs help, needs a committee and helpers for events Must be and be perceived by the public as unimpeachably non-partisan Must work with the board to determine candidate event related conduct and policies.

5 What the Board Does in the VS Area Adopts a non-partisan policy Adopts a “candidate participation” policy for events Decides the races for which to do events Decides on an “empty chair” policy if things don’t work out as planned for each event Makes sure that due diligence is done for candidate event management.

6 Tools and Info for VS Activities “Face to Face: A Guide to Candidate Debates” and other documents on the LWVUS website “Road to the Voting Booth” – LWVNYS website – Part I: general advice for VS chairs – Part II: candidate events – Part III: voter registration drives

7 Tools and Info for VS Activities LWVNYS Documents: – Voters Guides, Part I (Facts for Voters) and II (Candidate Guide), printed every year and purchased by LLs – “Your Right to Vote in NYS” – series of 5 brochures for college students, homeless, disabled, former offenders, mentally ill – “First Vote” – free for LLs, used for first time voters – “Guidance for Local Leagues on Candidate Events”: due diligence checklist

8 Non-Partisanship Your League needs to adopt a policy and review it regularly LWVUS: “The League board reviews and discusses its nonpartisan policy annually at its first organizational meeting. At a minimum, board members who hold “sensitive” portfolios are not involved in partisan activities. Each League considers its own community and its political environment when stating specific allowed and prohibited activities. The board’s policy may be printed in the local League newsletter.” What it should cover: – What a board member can/cannot do by portfolio: Run for political office Campaign for a candidate Make campaign contributions – What to do when a board member resigns to engage in political activity.

9 Non-Partisanship Refer to LWVUS’ web pages (Leaders section) for sample policies and discussion. For “streamlined” Leagues where there is a management team instead of the range of portfolios: – “Each new Leadership Team must adopt a Nonpartisan Policy. Since the Leadership Team is a small group of League leaders and they are working together on all aspects of the League, the Nonpartisan Policy should cover all members of the Leadership Team.” Sample team policy on LWVUS web site

10 Non-partisanship Your board members should understand when and when not to appear to be speaking for the League. Your board should be wary of with whom you co- sponsor educational/voter service events. Your board members should understand that appearances and the reputation of the League as non-partisan are the overriding concern. Your board should be wary of being manipulated by political candidates for their personal advantage and by organizations for their purposes.

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