LWV New Jersey Convention - May 4, 2019

LWV New Jersey Convention - May 4, 2019

Type: 
Blog Post

On May 4, 2019 the New Jersey League held its 63rd biennial convention. Andrea Pellezzi, Adrienne Fein, Mary Ann Colgan, Ruth Banks, Ruth Mullen and Judy and Norman Perkus represented our League. Each of these individuals had different memories and impressions from the day and they share some of their memo-ries and comments below.
Judy and Norman Perkus wrote – The theme of the convention was, Defending Democracy for the Next 10 Years. The previous evening, the annual Making Democracy Work Cocktail Reception & Awards Ceremony was held. None of our local League members attended but MaryAnn Colgan put together a basket as a do-nation to LWVNJ for the silent auction.
Delegates approved the proposed budget, keeping the current $23 PMP (Per Member Payment) and the pro-posed slate. Current LWVNJ President Nancy Hedinger was reelected. Changes to the bylaws incorporated new LWVUS recognition standards for “state-administered local Leagues” or “SALLS” and an increase to the LWVNJ Board of Directors to up to 20 members.
We also voted to concur with the position of the LWV of Illinois on driver’s certificates for undocumented driv-ers.
An autographed copy of “Give Us the Ballot, the modern struggle for voting rights in America” by Keynote speaker Ari Berman was distributed to all attendees. He said that many states are trying to make voting more difficult and pointed out that our founding fathers gave the vote only to land-owning white male citizens. In addition, many suffragettes wanted voting rights for white women only.
Andrea Pellezzi wrote – After opening formalities, we heard from speaker Maggie Bush from the LWVUS on Best Practices for Voter Registration. She was followed by Yvette Murry from YRM Consulting, whose topic was Advancing Equality and Inclusion. Both emphasized the need for including all in the voting process. The Luncheon speaker was Ari Berman, a journalist whose reporting and recent book, “Give us the Ballot”, stressed the issues around the current practices of voter suppression. We left with autographed copies of his book.
MaryAnn Colgan wrote - I think it was especially nice that long-term members were honored. This year Marcia Kastan was given the Life Time membership Certificate for 50 years of work in the League.
The Pre-Convention webinar was helpful to me in explaining the voting process at convention. The planned webinars for later this month for Phone Banking with VAN calling to encourage voting may be very useful.
Maggie Bush’s presentation, LWVUS Training: Best Practices for Voter Engagement, was instructional and informative. She talked about the success of Vote411 which has become a very popular site for information on candidates and other pertinent details for voters. The, Fixing the Hole in our Democracy: DC Statehood Toolkit gives insight into all the reasons why DC should receive statehood status. It seemed to have support from the membership.
Adrienne Fein wrote – It was a particular honor for me to accept (with Ruth Mullen) the State League’s Col-laboration Award for our chapter. It gave us visibility for our project on human trafficking. It acknowledged the work that has been done by our chapter for 6 years to hopefully help prevent future issues.
After lunch, on our own time, I connected with members of other chapters to discuss common issues. The afternoon business meeting included the passing of the budget and Bylaws change.
Ruth Mullen wrote – As a member of the State Education committee, I was particularly interested to see how the Convention delegates would respond to the recommendation that the League update their position on Charter Schools. Although several Leagues had expressed concerns about the League position on Charter Schools, no one spoke up when this proposal was brought to the group’s attention. And so, the League study, completed in 2015, remains the official position.
Ruth Banks had some final thoughts - I thank the state board and staff for its hard work putting together a convention. My only comments are as follows:
1. I would like to see time allotted for local league committees to meet and mix with their counterparts in other leagues. It helps Leaguers get to know others and find out what other leagues are doing, how they are doing it and so on.
2. I would prefer a setting which isn’t so tight: i.e. sitting behind the tables with little room was very stressful. A more open setting would be conducive to meeting other people. The year the convention was held at Mercer County Community College would be a good example: Rooms to meet in, space to move around.
3. I did not appreciate the speaker wandering from one side to the other – couldn’t decipher her talk. And it took too long.
4. I think the convention /council should afford leagues the opportunity to discuss the issues they face in their communities, maybe we can learn from each other. Good issues as well as not-so-good issues

League to which this content belongs: 
Monroe Township