Plattsburgh League of Women Voters president Sally Sears-Mack.
PLATTSBURGH — For about a year, the League of Women Voters has been studying how campaigns are financed, both locally and nationally.
On Saturday, March 2, the Plattsburgh League of Women Voters will hold a free, open-to-the-public forum called “Preserving Our Democracy: The Case for Campaign Finance Reform for New York State” at the Plattsburgh Town Hall.
The LWV is a nonpartisan organization that began in 1920.
Today, it has local groups in every state and works to improve government by educating and engaging citizens.
“The whole state of New York is in an uproar about campaign finance reform,”said Sally Sears-Mack, president of the Plattsburgh League. “People up here aren’t so far away that they don’t need to hear about this and get the right scoop, not just any scoop.”
The forum will be led by speaker Barbara Bartoletti, the legislative director for the League of Women Voters of New York.
Bartoletti represents the League’s interests in Albany, and is instrumental in getting their voices heard by lawmakers.
During Saturday’s forum, she will share the New York League’s findings on campaign finance reform, and provide information on how people can get involved, whom they can contact and how they can contact those people.
“This is the first time we have taken a position on this issue,” Sears-Mack said. “We are not doing it nationally yet. We feel it’s more important to fix where you live.”
Sears-Mack said citizen involvement is the only way to make positive change, whether the scale is local, state-wide or national.
“Many years ago, when the League of Women Voters was founded, women couldn’t vote,” Sears-Mack said. “With enough public outcry and demand for change, we will get change.”
In 2010, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision ruled that corporations are individuals and can therefore contribute unlimited funds to independent groups backing or opposing candidates for federal political office.
Bartoletti will speak about how that decision contributes to New York’s need for campaign finance reform, along with other issues that include: contribution limits that are set too high, an abundance of loopholes and the unfettered influence of special interest groups and large donors.
“Everybody is a voter, and everybody should have a chance to vote for good candidates who are not bought and paid for by large corporations,” Sears-Mack said. “I think we will insist that we are heard, and that our battle will be heard by the Supreme Court, and that stuff like Citizen’s United, that said corporations are individuals, will be overturned.”
For more information, contact Sally Sears-Mack at 561-7199 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the League of Women Voters report on campaign finance reform, visit lwvny.org/advocacy/reform/2012/Background%20Paper--PreservingOurDemocracy102612.pdf
If you go:
What: Preserving Our Democracy: The Case for Campaign Finance Reform for New York State
When: Saturday, March 2 at 1 p.m.
Where: The Plattsburgh Town Hall, 151 Banker Road, Plattsburgh