Minutes February 1, 2017

In Attendance: Martha Banks, Taylor Carter, Karla Coe, Adele Conniff, Joan Davis, Sandy Filmer, Sandy McDonnell, Laura Mosher, Molly Myers, Sue Okie, Clara Sartori, Susan Spain, Laurie Williamson

Call to order: by Clara Sartori, Co-President, 9:40am

Approval of January 4, 2017 meeting minutes (Clara Sartori)

Martha Banks moved to approve minutes; Laura Mosher seconded and minutes were unanimously approved.

Treasurers Report (Molly Myers for Kate Larson)

(see attached)

Membership (Molly Myers)

  • Current Membership is at 115
  • Ursula Forman and Kathy Baker have been given Honorary status as they have been in the LWV for 50 years, therefore we do not have to pay national dues for them.
  • Database has been updated. Will report (115) members to State and National Leagues which will determine our PMP (per member payment) of dues in 2017.
  • New Member list. 13 +new members, several from CDSP contacts. Molly and Membership Committee have made efforts to attract members at CDSP, and to have a presence at other political events. Molly says there is increasing interest and she expects more members as well as donations which continue to come in.
  • No further membership events are planned for this year, although there will be a membership table at all relevant events.
  • Additional contributions just over $3400 in line with past few years. Successful combination of membership and contribution solicitation.  Thanks to January Observer Corps Light: Featured Speakers at January Board meeting, Kate Clarke Buch – Darien Town Administrator and former Finance Director and Kip Koons, Selectman
  • Members learned about the role of the Town Administrator, the budget process and upcoming town projects.  Mr. Koons also spoke about regionalization initiatives.

Announcements (Clara Sartori) –Clara asked for a motion to add an item (re Darien Library letter writing campaign stated below) to the agenda. The motion was made, seconded and approved.

  • Clara announced that Mallory Arents at the Darien Library has suggested collaboration with the LWV in a letter writing campaign to elected officials which they asked us to co-sponsor on March 23rd (tentative date). There was favorable reaction to this suggestion from the Board since our organization has previously expressed a commitment to more civic engagement. Laurie Williamson gave feedback on the value of letter-writing, although time consuming, it can be influential.
  • Molly suggested that we (individually) join the WomanPower Action network of Connecticut and support their postcard writing campaign to legislators, Sundays at St. Luke’s church. Molly will follow up with emails to interested members giving further information on this organization.
  • Martha recommended articles on the state of Connecticut Finances in the CT Mirror – she suggested reading a recent article on how we’ve become a ‘rating culture’.

Recap of January 25th Legislative Coffee

  • All four of our State Legislators were in attendance: Senators Bob Duff and Carlo Leone and Representatives William Tong and Terrie Wood.
  • Many thanks to Joyce Critelli for coordinating, hosting and moderating the discussion
  • Also thanks to Martha Banks, Carolyn Bayne, Taylor Carter, Mary Genco, Clara Sartori, and Laurie Williamson for researching and prioritizing the areas of questioning for our legislators
  • Very well attended (33 sign ins) by both familiar and new faces. The exchange between the League and the legislators was thoughtful and firm but cordial.

Nominating (Sue Okie)

Need additional members to participate on Nominating Committee. Contact Sue Okie. Martha suggested adding a social media person to the Board.

Discussion of Format for March Town Officials Lunch/Breakfast (Karla Coe)

  • Presenters are usually heads of major town boards (First Selectman, BOE, BOF, P&Z, RTM)
  • Karla and Program Committee feel this event is getting stale, so we discussed alternatives – e.g. host one board at a time, meet/greet town officials, different format each year, evening or lunch meetings, allow more time for Q and A, hold every other year, keep it the same. The consensus was to host an evening program with wine and cheese, but if we encourage students to participate, which we would like to do, we would have dessert – no alcohol.

February Film at the Darien Library, Sunday February 12th, 2:00 PM

  • “Equal Means Equal” Remember the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex”. The ERA won bi-partisan approval in the Senate in the 1970s but fell three states short of ratification as a Constitutional Amendment. Is there still a case for the ERA decades later? This is a provocative documentary film, sure to make you think.
  • Free and open to the public, sponsored by the Darien LWV

Food for Thought (Coe)

  • Recap of January Discussion
  • Next FFT, Thursday, February 16th, 12:30 – 2:00 PM. Hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. Join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advance so no preparation is required.
  • Karla is talking to people at ‘No-labels’ for possible annual meeting speaker.

State League Positions Up for Review

Local leagues are to review and discuss the following two positions and vote to Retain, Archive, Update (provide specific wording) or Take Action. Results must be communicated to the State League by March 4th. Final action will be voted on at the Annual Meeting.

Because of time constraints, Clara lead a discussion on the first position, Transportation, which we agreed to retain, and the second position, Election Laws, will be discussed at our March meeting, which will be held prior to the State League deadline. Clara suggested that we invite John Visi and Susan Gray, Registrar of Voters, to our next Board meeting.


(LWVCT Position adopted 1975; affirmed 2007)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut supports the planning and development of a balanced transportation system for Connecticut.  The goals of such a system are to maintain air quality standards, conserve energy and land, and give all citizens freedom to move about regardless of age, income, or physical capacity.  Connecticut’s transportation system must be coordinated, interlocking, and multi-modal, able to respond to changing needs.  Citizens must be included at all levels of planning


(Adopted in 1983; amended 2005; amended 2007)

The League of Women Voters of Connecticut believes that the political process must be open to all citizens and that the right to vote with confidence in the election process and with adequate information with which to make informed decisions must be guaranteed for all. To achieve these goals, the LWVCT supports the following:

Registration Processes

  • Expand opportunities for the registration of potential voters via the Internet and through use of off-site, off-hour registration sessions, increased use of mail-in applications and applications submitted through various state agencies;
  • Provide Instruction by state and local officials on proper voter registration procedures for those distributing voter registration applications;
  • Implement Election Day Registration (EDR) for all federal, state and local elections with adequate safeguards to protect against fraud;
  • Maintain an accurate, reliable, state-wide electronic, centralized voter registration system and accurate local voter lists;
  • Provide adequate training, compensation, and assistance for registrars and adequate training for their designees;
  • Provide outreach to potential voters, such as high school students and new citizens, by town and state elections officials.

Election Procedures

  • Ensure sufficient funding and adequate personnel for state agencies to supervise and enforce election laws;
  • Provide expanded and unbiased public education in voting machine use, and expanded opportunity for unbiased ballot information at the polls;
  • Assure assistance to voters for whom English is not their primary language;
  • Mandate training and supervision of all election workers to assure uniform compliance with federal and state laws;
  • Adopt procedures to minimize voter inconvenience;
  • Assure identification of voters at polls to prevent fraud;
  • Provide instruction from the Office of the Secretary of the State to all election workers regarding the use of Presidential and Provisional ballots, ballot questions and referenda on Constitutional Amendments;
  • Provide impartial voter education by the Office of the Secretary of the State and local elections officials, where appropriate, regarding ballot questions and referenda;
  • Assure that absentee voting privileges are available to all;
  • Strengthen measures to protect the absentee ballot from fraud and undue influence.

Voting Technology (based on the LWVUS position)

  • Implement voting systems that are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible (SARA) in order to ensure the integrity of, and voter confidence in, elections;
  • Consider a broad range of options that meet SARA criteria and keep pace with evolving technology;
  • Use voting systems and procedures that provide fairness to all voters, including the disabled and those who do not speak English as their primary language.


  • It is essential to insure adequate funding and support for state agencies responsible for supervising elections, enforcing election laws, and assuring the integrity of voting technology are fundamental to protecting citizens’ right to vote and having their votes counted.

Other Information (the 411)

LWVCT Call to Action: If Not the Electoral College, What?

  • The LWVCT Board is soliciting interested members to participate in a committee to review the various alternatives to the Electoral College and make a recommendation for advocacy and/or public education strategies by LWVCT and local Leagues.  If you are interested, or want more information, contact Jane Eyes at  janeeyes@aol.com

Meeting adjourned at 10:50 am

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Spain