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League of Women Voters of New Castle, NY

P.O. Box 364, Chappaqua, NY  10514. e-mail: lwv.newcastle@gmail.com

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Current board members of LWV of New Castle. For the year 2008-2009 the New Castle League will focus on these items, our Local Program as adopted in May 2008: Current topics.

History

The League of Women Voters is an outgrowth of the suffragist movement when women were seeking the right to vote.  Carrie Chapman Catt founded the organization in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.  Six months later, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 57 year struggle.  The League was designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters.  It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. 

The League's leaders believed that citizens should play an active role in advocacy.  The League has always been a non-partisan organization.  As a non-partisan organization it does not endorse any party or individual for any political office.  The Leagues work focuses on important issues facing our legislatures, not on the elected officials themselves.  Although non-partisan, League members are encouraged to be active themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

Several decades ago, the National League voted to include men in its membership.  The New Castle League is proud to carry on this tradition today.

The New Castle League was founded in 1950 and its first objectives were those being addressed by State and National Leagues including Court reform (appointment vs. election of Judges), GATT-General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, nuclear armament, and the UN.  Local issues, especially regarding the Chappaqua School District were also studied.

Voters Service

VotersService is one of the fundamental activities of the  League of Women Voters.  Non-partisan information on issues and candidates is given to voters, and registration of new citizens is urged.  A Voters Guide is published by the League before every November election.  It contains information about the candidates, and their answers to specific questions posed by the League.  Another guide is published in spring on candidates for the Chappaqua Board of Education.  For information on this, please e-mail us at lwvnewcastle@optonline.net

A candidates' forum is held in the autumn where the public can question candidates for town, county, state and national office.  These debates are taped for the local cable network and aired before the election.

A new resident package is mailed in the fall to all households where there has been a change of resident.  The package contains information on the officials who represent them and how to register to vote.

Observer Corps

The League of Women Voters is a respected and integral part of our community.  In accordance with our mandate we monitor governmental bodies for information of importance to the League and the community.  The Observer Corps is the eyes and ears of the League, reporting on the business of the governing Boards in the monthly newsletter, The Voter.

Studies

The League is a grass roots organization that bases its action on study and consensus.  Before the League will take any action on an issue, such as lobby or participate in forums, its members study it.  A study can be long or short and takes up issues at the national, state, or local levels.  Once a study is completed, members are educated on the study and reach consensus on possible action through discussions.

What is a LWV study?

At all levels, from local chapters all the way up to the national organization, the League of Women Voters contributes to public education on a variety of issues by providing nonpartisan information to help promote involvement, dialogue, and informed decision-making by its membership.  Only through the formal study process, however, can the LWV as an organization take a position and action on an issue.

LWV studies follow specific guidelines to insure the objectivity of the process.  In brief, the research and reporting must include a broad diversity of input to represent the myriad viewpoints that inform the issue being studied.  These inputs are coalesced into a study report which is presented to the membership through a number of educational outreach activities designed to promote in-depth discussion of the study issue.  Ultimately, through this process of meetings and discussion of the study report, the League tries to reach consensus on a position.  If there is consensus, the League advocates for the measures contained in the position. Only if consensus is reached can the League adopt, and advocate for, a position.

 


Updated Oct. 27, 2009 by Valerie Castleman

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