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League of Women Voters of Somers, NY

PO Box 371, Somers, New York 10589



Report on November 10 Meeting

Understanding the Election of 2014

nvite him and we will come. Rest assured that when Dr. Christopher Malone, Associate Professor of Political Science at Pace University, OUR PROFESSOR, as Harriet Leib dubbed him , speaks to us, attendance is high at our meetings. November 10th was no different. We turned out en masse to hear his analysis of the midterm elections of 2014. We were fortunate to have five seniors from Dave Laino’s Public Affairs Class at Somers High present as well.

“Numbers tell stories,” stated Dr. Malone at the beginning of his lively lecture. Although midterm elections generally go against the sitting president’s party, this one resulted in the greatest change ever. The Senate added 7 Republican seats and the House 12 with two states still undecided. The map of the country “looks like a sea of red with a few islands of blue.”

After showing us the map, Dr.Malone proceeded to break down the electorate demographically and show the changes that took place between 2010, 2012 and 2014. Of the only 30% of registered voters who chose to vote this year the numbers in percentages went up the age ladder, with the highest percentage in the over 65s. The same breakdowns applied to minorities and whites, poor and wealthy, less and more highly educated. Three consistently blue states are now red; Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts. This is the biggest swing since the Civil War.

While Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, succeeded in his reelection bid, it was hardly the expected landslide for him. His opponent captured 46 of 62 counties, and the Democrats lost control of the Senate. New York had its lowest voter turnout in 80 years.

During the question and answer period the influence of money flowing to the Republicans was discussed as well as the Democratic party apathy. The lack of stress on women’s issues in both parties was noted as well. It was also mentioned that there is greater turnout where same day registration is allowed, where voter ID is not required, where voting by mail is allowed, and when contests are most competitive.

Dr. Malone concluded by assuring us that the 2016 race will be most competitive and that all indications point to a far Bluer country by then. We look forward to his analysis then and in 2015.

President's Message December

The issue of voting rights has been problematic throughout U.S. history. During the re- cent election, the turnout was disap-
pointing. Originally the U.S. Constitution did not define who was eligible to vote. It was left to the states, who in the early history of the U.S. allowed only Caucasian males, who either owned property (at least 50 acres of land) or had taxable in- comes.

In 1848, an influential women’s rights convention (Seneca Falls Convention) attracted 300 men and women. The first National Women’s Rights Convention took place in 1850 in Massachusetts attended by over 1000 participants. In 1890 these two organizations merged to form the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

In 1890 the National Suffrage Association was formed under the leadership of Elizabeth Cody Stanton. On August 26, 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified. It’s victory accomplished, the NAWSA ceased to exist but it’s organization became the nucleus of the League of Women Voters (LWV).

LWV was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just 6 months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72 year struggle.

On election day in 1920 millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists nearly 100 years to win that fight. The League continues to encourage citizens to become informed and to actively participate in government.

Students in Albany

The Education Foundation of the League of Women Voters of New York State annually conducts Students Inside Albany, an opportunity for students across the state to come together to learn about NY State government. The 2015 conference will be held May 17-20. As part of the interactive conference, students will tour the Capitol and observe both the Senate and Assembly by spending an afternoon shadowing their legislators. Each League can sponsor one student free of charge (with the exception of transportation). The fee for a seond student would be $600.

The Education Committee of our Somers League has invited Somers High School prin- cipal Mark E. Bayer to nominate an interested student or two. Mr. Bayer promptly respond- ed to our inquiry. “As always,” he wrote, “we appreciate this opportunity to expose our stu- dents to the workings of government and to see the democratic process in action.”

Mr. Bayer will submit the name of the nominated student (s) by December 10 to our Education Committee. Completed student applications are due in late February. Once again, we anticipate a successful SIA experience for another enthusiastic SHS student.


of Events

Mon. Dec. 8 
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am Holiday Party

Wed. Dec. 17
Naturalization Court
White Plains

Mon. Jan. 12
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am "Report from the Legislature" with Peter Harckham & Michael Kaplowitz. Somers Town Hall, Route 202

Mon. Mar. 9
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am "The State of our Schools" with Dr. Ray Blanch. Somers Library, Reis Park.

Mon. Apr. 13
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am Report to the People with members of the Town Board. Somers Town Hall, Route 202

Mon. May 11
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am "Women and their Money" with Paul Sheldon. Somers Library, Reis Park


Stop the Secret Money

While many Americans went to the polls to vote, exercising their constitutional right, millions of dollars of secret money poured into the 2014 elections from dark money groups which hide the identity of their donors, seeking to buy our elected offi- cials and undermine our elections. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has the pow- er to set new rules requiring full disclosure in our elections. Even after the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, under existing law, the FEC can take steps to stop the secret money and to stop coordinated spending.

Our election process is being poisoned by the unregulated use of huge sums of money. Candidates who are financed by special interest groups are then beholden to these groups and are not free to represent the interests of their constituents. The National League is asking you to “add your voice
to thousands of others and take action now.”

Annual Fall Luncheon

The Fall Luncheon was held on Thursday, October 30th at Le Fontaine Ristorante. Joel Seligman, President and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital, discussed current planning at the Hospital. They are in the process of affiliating with the North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center, providing access to a variety of additional specialties, research and new technology. In addition, Northern
Westchester, like most small hospitals, is under serious financial stress which this merger should help to alleviate

The Affordable Care Act has added millions of consumers to the health care system, creating both added burdens and new opportunities for the system. Currently, the United States is 17th in the delivery of health care worldwide. Seligman pointed out that we are just below Costa Rica!

Thanks to Bea Bartner and Joyce Liebman for a very well-planned luncheon and an interesting speaker.


Benefactors help to support our League with their tax deductible donation of $25.00 (+) to the Somers LWV Educational Fund.

For those of you who have generously supported us in the past, it is time to renew your donation. For others, we ask you to join in this effort and send your check to the Somers Educational Fund, Box371, Somers NY 10589.

Updated by Valerie Castleman Dec. 1, 2014