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Volume 6 Issue 11/ March 15, 2010

The Official Newsletter of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council

Vol 6, Iss 11 March 15, 2010

If you would like to be on our mailing list, e-mail your name, title, company, and address to newsletter@nydlc.org. We'll happily add you to the list. Check out our website at www.nydlc.org
REMEMBER, if you have a friend or colleague who would benefit from reading Legal Briefs please send us their e-mail address and we will be happy to include them in our weekly distribution.
Howard Leib, Editor

Upcoming Meetings

March Steering Committee Meeting  Regular March Steering Committee meeting will take place Thursday, March 25th at 7PM at Dewey and Leboeuf.  All are welcome.  Please RSVP to douglas.keith@nydlc.org

Westchester / Lower Hudson Valley Regional Meeting  The Westchester/Lower Hudson Valley Chapter will hold a Regional Meeting at McCarthy Fingar  on Friday, March 26th from 7:30 am to 9 am.  The business portion of the meeting shall begin at 8 am.  All members within our region of Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester Counties are invited to participate in person or by telephone.  RSVP to Frank Streng fstreng@mccarthyfingar.com for in-person attendance or to participate by conference call.


An Evening for Election Integrity!
With Mark Ritchie, Minnesota's Secretary of State
Monday, April 12
6-8 PM
214 East 18th Street
Anne Hess and Craig Kaplan
Host Committee
*Al Appleton*Caron Atlas*Allison Barlow*Marjorie Fine*Frances Fox-Piven* Anne Hess and Craig Kaplan*Allen Hunter and Linda Gordon* Riva Krut and Harris Gleckman*Ruth Katz*Sandra Levinson* Jaykumar Menon*Leah Margulies*Marion Nestle*Anita Nager* Miles Rapoport*Donna Schaper and Warren Goldstein*
*Deborah Stern* Suggested Contributions
$500 Benefactor ~ $250 Friend ~ $100 Advocate
Contributions of any size are welcomed.
Maximum Contribution for 2010 is $500/person or $1000/couple
From overseeing the Franken vs. Coleman US Senate recount to being named Most Valuable State Official of the Year by The Nationmagazine for his civic engagement leadership, Mark Ritchie's first three years in office have demonstrated how important it is to have people of integrity in the Office of the Secretary of State. In keeping with his pledge to be a "Champion for Democracy," Ritchie has been a leader in nationwide efforts to expanded voter participation and to ensure the integrity of the election process.

Beyond the national headlines, Mark Ritchie has been an innovator in finding ways to make voting more accessible to citizens who have historically faced unnecessary barriers-including students, seniors, people with disabilities, soldiers and others serving overseas. Ritchie is also active in the national movement to get big money out of judicial elections - an issue that has become a high priority for Mark due to the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down limits on corporate money in elections.
Ritchie is running for re-election as Minnesota's Secretary of State in 2010.
Please RSVP for this event to leah@markritchie2010.org or call 507-351-0961.
To Donate online, visit www.markritchie2010.org  and click on "contribute".


MISSISSIPPI - GOPERS KEEP TRYING TO BLOCK VOTERS - With a new election season rapidly approaching, GOPer operatives are once again stepping up efforts to enact restrictive Voter ID bills.  In Mississippi, GOPers have obtained enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would require voters to show government issued picture ID in order to vote.  The rationale is, of course, to prevent voter fraud, although there is no substantial reported instances of voter fraud to prevent.
MINNESOTA - MAKING ABSENTEE VOTING FAIRER - The Minnesota House has passed a bill designed to improve absentee balloting.  If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law election officials would bew required to mail a new ballot to any voters whose ballot was rejected and explain why the ballot was invalid, up until five days before an election. With the five day period, officials would have to call or e-mail voters so they could cast ballots in person.
ALASKA - ONCE IS ALL IT TAKES- A bill has been introduced in Alaska which would allow eligible voters to sign up once and receive absentee ballots each year.  GOPer representitives are, of course, challenging the proposal. 
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (http://www.justice.gov/crt/ index.php) is seeking a managing attorney to lead the Voting Section (http://www.justice.gov/crt/ voting/) in enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the National Voter Registration Act of 1993; the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act; the Help America Vote Act of 2002; the Uniformed and Oversees Citizens Absentee Voting Act; and other statutory provisions for safeguarding citizens' right to vote. The Section brings lawsuits against states, counties, cities, and other jurisdictions; monitors local elections; and reviews submissions for compliance with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.   The position is based in Washington, DC.
Further details and application links are found at http://jobview.usajobs.gov/ GetJob.aspx?JobID=85957925

Brain Teaser  

E-mail your answer to DemEsqNYC@aol.com by the end of business on Thursday. Put Brain Teaser in the subject line. We will print the names of those people who get the answer right in our next issue.   
With Eric Massa in the news this week, can you remember who held that Congressional seat before Massa?
Let's test your memory as we bask in last night's Academy Awards.  At then candidate Obama's request, this Oscar winner and American Idol finalist sang the national anthem on the last day of the Democratic Convention in 2008.  Who was the singer?

AND THE ANSWER IS: Jennifer Hudson
We had correct answers from Jennifer Bame, Joe Bookman, David Forestier, Alan Goldston, Chip Hoagland, Douglas A. Kellner, Patrick Michael McKenna. Jeanne Murphy, Avril Roberts, Fred C. Russcol, Myra Saul, Helene Simon, Julie Vulpescu and AAronda Watson

Congrats to you all. 

The New York Democratic Lawyers Council

The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC) is a group of Democratic lawyers and voting rights activists, affiliated with the National Lawyers Council of the Democratic National Committee, volunteering their legal skills to strengthen the democratic process. We work to ensure that every eligible citizen is allowed to vote and that every vote cast in every election is counted. The NYDLC was formed out of a concern that voting rights are increasingly under attack in our country and an understanding that now is the time to put the skills of Democratic attorneys to work to ensure that every citizen's right to vote will be upheld in future elections. Our activities include advocating for better laws and regulations and initiating litigation when necessary to guarantee the fairness of and the widest participation in the U.S. electoral process.
The Democratic Lawyers Council was founded by attorneys who have served on the front line of election law for the Democratic Party in numerous elections, including most recently, the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The lesson learned from the recount debacle was that post-election day litigation will hardly ever fix any election injustice. Given that, many of the recount lawyers, particularly those based in Florida, engineered a comprehensive voter protection program to confront and deal with voter and election issues before Election Day. One aspect of this effort was the recruitment of 3200 lawyers who, after receiving specialized election law and procedures training, worked inside the polls in key precincts in Florida on Election Day to assure that every citizen who showed up to vote, was able to do so.
Our mission statement is simple:
We are a coalition of lawyers and others dedicated to fostering universal participation and trust in the electoral process by ensuring that:
  • All eligible persons can register to vote easily,
  • All registered voters are able to vote simply, fairly, and without intimidation, and
  • All votes are counted and all voting systems are open and reliable.

We encourage you to send us an email if you would like more information or are interested in becoming a part of our organization.
You can learn more about us at our website www.nydlc.org. Please e-mail us at info@nydlc.org or contact the steering committee directly at steeringcommittee@nydlc.org.

Help Wanted  
The NYDLC is a volunteer organization, functioning through the donated time and enthusiasm of our members. We have openings for people to take on specific tasks within the NYDLC, on a local, state and national level. Check out our Help Wanted section to see if there is a task you want to take on to help the NYDLC, your party and your country.

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