October 2, 2019 Minutes

Attendees: Sue Okie, Evonne Klein, Vicki Baldwin, Mary Genco, Clara Sartori, Susan Spain, Stephanie Maher, Martha Banks, Kate Larson, Susan Vogel, Arlene Tulacro, Laura Mosher, Barbara Thorne, Carolyn Bayne, Joan Davis, Jill McCammon, Rosemarie Reardon, Taylor Carter, Gwen Mogenson, Jayme Stevenson, Theresa Vogt, Enid Oresman, Adele Conniff, Joan Hendrickson, Robin Woods, Lois Schneider, Kathryn Van Voorhees, Laurie Williamson and John Visi.

Call to Order: Clara Sartori called the meeting to order at 9:55 AM.

Treasurers Report: Stephanie Maher reported that the bank balances at the end of September totaled $16,366.28. The September luncheon program more than covered its costs, although the balance does not reflect payment to Wee Burn as we await the bill. Anyone with expenses from the event should submit documentation to Stephanie for reimbursement. Operating income for the month was $5,255.52. Four new members joined in September.

Secretarial Report: A motion to approve the minutes of the September 4th, 2019 meeting was made by Kate Larson and seconded by Laura Mosher. The minutes were approved by a vote of the attendees.

Programs (Susan Vogel and Evonne Klein)
The LWV thanks Susan and Evonne for sourcing and coordinating the September program featuring Shannon Watts, Founder, Moms Demand Action and author of
“Fight Like a Mother”. Nearly 120 attendees learned about the perseverance, courage and determination of countless women (and men), particularly in taking on the gun lobby, but also in organizing for positive change. The presentation was enlightening and inspiring.
Thanks were also expressed for coordinating today’s presentation by Secretary of State, Denise Merrill.

Updates on other activities planned in celebration of the LWV 100th year anniversary and women’s suffrage follow:
* A panel of female elected officials is tentatively planned for November.
* The June 2, 2020 Annual Meeting will feature Rebecca Traister, author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger”. Rebecca, a frequent cable TV commentator on feminism and politics, has agreed to speak at our event for half of her regular fee. Our speaker fee will be $10,000 and the Darien Library has agreed to contribute $2,500. Evonne and Susan are pursuing additional sponsors.

Voter Services (Sartori)
Thanks were expressed to Stacey Tie for volunteering to head Candidates Night, assisted by Marcy Minnick. This is a municipal election year and our event will be held at the Town Hall auditorium, Wednesday evening October 23rd. Volunteers are needed for timing, question sorting and other responsibilities. Contact Stacey Tie to volunteer. Stacey has set up a dedicated email account: lwvdariendebate@gmail.com for voters to propose questions they would like asked.

The Voters Guide is our publication containing candidates’ responses to a pertinent question related to their elected position. We need a volunteer to assist Gwen Mogenson in developing the guide. It entails contacting the candidates (mostly through email) communicating the question and following up to ensure their reply. This requires a short burst of volunteer effort in early October. Please email Gwen Mogenson if you can help.

National Voter Registration Day was Tuesday September 24th. We planned to hold a voter registration campaign at Darien High School (DHS) that morning but were unable to coordinate that with the school administration and registrars. We may hold a voter registration event at DHS in the Spring.

Membership (Betsy Shay/Jean Sweeney)
Thanks were expressed to Betsy for coordinating the development of our membership solicitation materials. Members were asked to stay after today’s meeting to personalize our membership mailing, as personal contact is our best recruiting tool. Those who cannot stay were asked to take some materials and send them to friends, inviting them to join.

LWVCT 100th Anniversary Committee (Sartori)
The state league’s anniversary theme is “Creating a More Perfect Democracy”. There will be a Gala Dinner at the Italian Center in Stamford on Saturday February 22, 2020. They are asking for volunteers to work on the various event committees (decorations, program book ads, publicity, invitations etc.) If you are interested please contact Kay Maxwell

Holiday Party (Sartori)
Clara suggested that we should postpone our annual holiday party plans for 2019, given all of this year’s other special activities. There was general agreement.

Ability for program attendees to pay additional PayPal fees when purchasing tickets on-line (Amy Zerbe/Deepika Saksena)
We have learned that PayPal does not allow this. The LWV must absorb the transaction costs for on-line payments.

Food For Thought (FFT) (Karla Coe)
The next FFT meeting will be Thursday, October 17th,12:30-2:00 PM, hosted by Ann Ferris, 30 Hale Lane. All members are invited. Contact Karla Coe to get on the FFT email list. Join a freewheeling discussion of a topical news subject. The topic is not announced in advanced so no preparation is required. All members are invited.

The business meeting was then adjourned at 10:20 and Evonne Klein introduced the speaker. About 50 attendees were present for the speaker. Highlights follow:

CT Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill on CT’s Election Integrity
Secretary Merrill explained that CT has a very secure election process, and she views 2020 as a “teachable moment” to inform about this. Voter fraud is rare and has been recently reduced. Local administrators are now trained, and computer systems have been upgraded and are more secure. Nevertheless, our systems are still subject to probes and other countries are waging a campaign of disinformation. CT’s process now follows Best Practices including a paper audit trail.

A unique partnership with the University of Connecticut’s IT department is part of the program to improve security. Her staff of 12 helps local officials to know and follow the rules. A non-partisan Election Enforcement Commission of 100 attorneys hears and investigates election day occurrences. An Emergency Plan is in place for such issues as storms or shortage of ballots. Voter fraud has been reduced through use of voter ID processes. More people, especially in the 18 to 21 category, are registering than ever before, but still, not enough people are voting.

Secretary Merrill explained that CT’s absentee ballot process is more cumbersome than in other states, and that CT does not have early voting to expand the number of days available to vote.
A Centennial Commission has been established which provides tools to towns to develop programs to celebrate women’s rights to vote. Votesforwomenct.com has been set up as a resource.

Respectfully submitted,
Vicki Baldwin, Secretary