President’s Message

It was a bit startling to see recently on the website of LWVUS the headline:  The 2016 Presidential Election WAS Rigged.  The point of the article is that one of the ways an election is “rigged” is through voter suppression and, we might add, unfair and illegal voting district boundaries - nicknamed gerrymandering.  Since the Supreme Court rolled back key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, there is a lot of work to be done to improve access to the vote for all citizens.  Reinstating the voting rights act provisions is a major task at the national level, but we can work locally, regionally and on the state level to make sure our voting districts meet non-partisan guidelines and that registration and voting is safe and convenient.

Election day involvement locally included efforts to make sure provisional ballots were properly made available.  As it turned out, 149 provisional ballots were considered by the Monroe County Election Board at their official meeting after the November 8, 2016 election.  At a League conference call after the election, it was mentioned that one county's representative would be determined by provisional voting and that some counties in Pennsylvania had as many provisional ballots cast as the entire state of Wisconsin.

The topic of this year's statewide study, Election Law: Review and Update, is particularly timely due to interest in alternatives to PA's current closed primary system and discussions about other ways to make voting accessible and convenient.  Thanks to Rose Ann Ferullo for chairing this study.  As members, you can read the background materials on the LWVPA website and then participate in the meetings when they are scheduled in the new year.  The discussions will focus on the consensus questions which are used to develop our Pennsylvania league positions.  Another way to get involved is to learn and help us educate the public about the gerrymandering of Pennsylvania legislative districts.  LWVPA is part of a bipartisan redistricting effort which needs to keep moving now in order to be implemented with the 2020 census.  We will have our public information meeting in March.  Look for more information at www.fairdistrictspa.com.

We still do not have further details of what help is needed for the 2017 state League Convention to be held in Monroe County, but please keep the dates June 1-4, 2017 open on your calendars.  Remember to visit www.palwv.org for the positions on statewide issues and www.lwv.org for national news and issues.

In League – Barbara Keiser

President

Election Board

August 3, 2016: Polling place changes: Pocono 2 and 4 are moving back to Our Lady of Victory church. A Starbucks will be opening at Dansbury Commons; East Stroudsburg 1 and 2 will stay there, but the entrance will likely change. There is still no decision on the Supreme Court retirement age ballot question. Sara had some percent turnout numbers for recent primaries: 2008 - 26%; 2012 - 15%; 2016 - 31%. Moyer had a query for Sara regarding the number of registered voters as a percent of the total population; he wanted to know how Monroe compares to other counties in PA. Sara also informed they have worked on 200 online applications.

September 7, 2016: There was discussion about the Smithfield Township request to place a referendum on their ballot for levying a tax to repay a 2 million dollar bond over 20 years. The proceeds will be used to pay for land rights, conservation easements, preservation of forest and waterways. Solicitor Dunn said the language needed tightening, but otherwise it met the requirements. Ellen Lott attended representing the Nature Conservancy and spoke in favor of the referendum.

The Board passed the amended referendum, subject to it satisfying the board solicitor. It will cost each taxpayer $2.40 per month. Ballots will go to the printer when Sara receives certification from the Dept. of State. A Stroudsburg polling place will be moved from the assessment office to the mapping room, in the same building that it is in now. Letters will be sent to the voters, and also letters will be sent regarding Pocono 2 and 4 relocating to Our Lady of Victory Church.

The statewide referendum regarding increasing the retirement age of judges from 70 to 75 is still in litigation.

The Department of State will be mailing letters to unregistered voters statewide, with 41,000 going out to Monroe County eligible residents, giving them information on registering to vote. There is an organization named Voter Participation Group which is also mailing letters to anyone eligible to vote but not registered. It is estimated that 5 - 13% respond. Her office has been responding to many phone inquiries.

Anne Tiracchia
Chair, Election Board

Voter’s Guide

Carmen is hard at work obtaining the necessary information from the Election Board. The candidates have to answer two sets of questions both local and state, and provide their general information. Though the insert is found in the Pocono Record, it is now edited/formatted in Texas. Carmen reports the (D) and (R) icons are no longer used, and formatting is nonnegotiable. Please respond if Carmen requests your help with typing or proofreading. This is a big task.

Carmen Brodnax

Chair, Voter’s Guide

Upcoming Event

The LWVMC Candidates Forum for our state representative from the 115th and 189th will be held Saturday September 24, 2016 at the Eastern Monroe Public Library.

Please copy and distribute the flyer on page 8 or received in the e-mail. Tell your friends and neighbors so they can attend with you and will be informed when they go to vote November 8, 2016.

Voter Registration

Events were held at the Jazz Festival, NCC (National Voter Registration Day), and EMPL (showing of Selma).  There were two laptops made available for online registration information at NCC.  Volunteers included Paula Dozier, Barbara Keiser, Rosanne Leone, Robin Mastrocola, Tameko Patterson, and Anne Tiracchia.  The business style cards handed out with voter information were quite useful.

Assistance in filling out absentee ballot applications was provided for residents at Mrs. Bush’s Personal Care Home and Pleasant Valley Manor.

Candidates Forum, Sept. 24, 2016:

There were over 50 people in attendance at the Forum.  Kathy Boyle was the moderator; participants were Maureen Madden and David Parker, candidates for the 115th state district, and Rosemary Brown and Damary Bonilla for the 189th state district.

A special thank you to all who participated in making this a successful event, including Marty Davey timekeeper, Eugenia Eden collector of audience question cards, Fran Ferrari who arranged printing ofprograms put together by Paula Dozier, Barbara Keiser for providing beverages, and all of those who contributed tasty treats, Robin Mastrocola for review of questions and Linda Zak for the photo below.

Voter Service

On August 8 met with Sue Lyons at the EMPL. Flyers now posted at the library computer stations with instructions on how to register to vote online. Sue also posted it on the library website: https://monroepl.org/?p=3108

Sept. 10, 11 (day depends on weather): Jazz Festival.

Sept. 27: National Voter Registration Day, NCC. The technical support department will loan us a couple of laptops/tablets to use for online registration. Volunteers are signed up.

Sept. 28: Mrs. Bush’s Personal Care Home; absentee ballot applications.

Oct. 2: Selma will be showing at EMPL. We will have a table.

Rose Ann and I are working with Andi McClanahan at ESU to get the students who submitted the papers for their class last semester involved in improving voter registration and turnout in Monroe County.

We have ordered business style cards that we can hand out with voter information available on register.votespa.com.

Candidates Forum, Sept. 24, 2016

Agreements and biographical information was received from the candidates. Paula Dozier completed a program draft . Draft press release prepared, with Linda Zak. It will be submitted two weeks prior to he forum. Marty Davey prepared the flyer. Martha Carbone will purchase a timer and act as the timekeeper. Kathy Boyle has agreed to be the moderator. Volunteers are signed up.

Final questions for candidates:

1. Pertaining to redistricting - There is growing bipartisan effort to create a citizens commission as a part of the process. Do you support this effort and if so, what strategies would you suggest to implement it effectively?

2. There have been several bills within the legislature dealing with pension reform. What is your position on rectifying the shortfall in the state pension fund and how urgent is this reform as it relates to the state budget?

Judy Fiske

Chair of Voter Service

The President's Message

Thank you, League Members, for your support, time and devotion to LWVMC! This fall, we are back to basics with our core purpose: voter services. We are helping to recruit voters, registering, answering questions about voting details such as write-ins and absentee ballots. It is great that there are options like online registration www.register.votespa.com and the party representatives pounding the streets, but there is a real feeling of satisfaction after registering voters and taking a stack of completed applications to the county office too. Also voters' services is working on the upcoming forum for candidates for the PA House of Representatives (see details in flyer on page 8) and the Voter’s Guide which will be published as part of the Pocono Record and available online. You might get a call requesting help with typing or proofreading. Note that there was a full page notice of the proposed constitutional amendments in the September 1, 2016 Pocono Record, p. B7.

Democracy is not a fast moving or easy form of government. A case in point is the gerrymandering of Pennsylvania legislative districts. LVWPA is part of a bipartisan redistricting effort which needs to keep moving now, in order to be implemented with the 2020 census. Perhaps our League can help by planning public information sessions in 2017. Look for more information at www.fairdistrictspa.com.

Please see details on page 3, and mark your calendars for next year's state League Convention to be held in Monroe County. The dates are June 1-4, 2017. Remember to visit www.palwv.org for the positions on statewide issues , the 2017 Convention and voter information.

In League – Barbara Keiser President

Get Out the Vote!

  • You can register or update your information online at www.register.votespa.com
  •  September 24, 2016: LWVMC State Representative Candidates Forum at the Eastern Monroe Public Library at 10:00 AM. Come to hear the candidates and ask them questions.
  • September 27, 2016: National Voter Registration Day. Registration drive at NCC, 10AM to 4PM.
  • October 11, 2016: Last day to register before the Election on November 8, 2016.
  • November 4, 2016: LWVMC Voter’s Guide printed as a pull-out in the Pocono Record and on our website: www.lwvmonroecountypa.com.