Director’s Blog :

NY Democratic Lawyers Council does an outstanding job of election protection and advocacy for election security throughout the State, but right now, they are looking for an intern to focus primarily on Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.  This could be an excellent experience leading to good contacts for anyone (undergraduate or graduate student) interested in the burgeoning fields of election law, election administration, and especially election security, during a very exciting electoral year.  Here is the link, followed by the full NYDLC posting:

Democratic Voter Protection Intern – Westchester

New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC) [voting rights]

Westchester, NY


Apply Now

Urgently hiring

The New York Democratic Lawyers Council is the nation’s longest continuously-operating Democratic Voter Protection organization. We are a coalition of lawyers and activists 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, all votes are counted and all voting systems are open and reliable. NYDLC is the voter protection arm of NYS Dems and the point of coordination between New York and the DNC for voter protection operations.

We seek a motivated, passionate, and experienced organizing intern to facilitate the operations of our large volunteer membership in Westchester county. The organizing intern will:

*Phonebank to, meet with, and facilitate events for the 200 NYDLC members residing in Westchester county. Events include voter protection trainings, organizing meetings, legislative advocacy events, and fundraisers.

*Track capacity-building efforts in Westchester county to ensure that NYDLC has an adequate number of poll watchers trained for primary and general elections.

*Meet goals for number of volunteers trained, assigned, and deployed.

*Identify volunteer leaders for the county and work with them to develop and execute an effective poll-watching program for early voting and on election day for the primary and general elections.

*Assist Westchester county members with legislative advocacy projects as they arise.

*Develop positive working relationships with electeds, general election Democratic candidates, and county election personnel (Please note: NYDLC is strictly neutral in primary campaigns).

This internship is an average time commitment of 20 hours a week, with some weeks being fewer hours than that, but hours increasing ahead of early voting and election day.

The right candidate will have the following experience, capacities, and skills:

*Strong commitment to advancing voting rights.

*Some experience in community or campaign organizing, for example, on campus, or on a town or county level.

*Extremely well-organized and detail-oriented.

*Comfortable with public speaking, personable, helpful, and good at forming positive working relationships with diverse stakeholders.

*Have a healthy respect for data-driven organizing and understand the importance of updating volunteer databases with relevant information.

*Experience with Votebuilder and Nationbuilder strongly preferred.

Applicants must be willing to commit through mid-November, 2020.

This is an opportunity for the right applicant to work directly under statewide Democratic organizing staff. You will gain solid campaign, electoral, and legislative advocacy experience that will help you to stand out as a candidate for political campaign hiring authorities in the future.

This internship is unpaid, however expenses including mileage and gas are compensated.

Please respond to this posting with resume and a brief statement of interest.  Place “Westchester Intern” in the subject line.

Thanks, Vanessa


Professor Vanessa Merton
Faculty Supervisor, Immigration Justice Clinic

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
John Jay Legal Services, Inc.
80 North Broadway
White Plains NY 10603
914 422 4333 (office)
914 422 4391 (fax)
1 800 836 7223 (free call)
[email protected]


The formal title of Pace Law School is now

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.


I should like to be able to love my country and

still love justice.

                                                            Albert Camus


From Julie Weiner: There is good news for New Yorkers concerned about possible cyber interference in the 2020 vote count.  Governor Cuomo has called for automatic hand recounts in close elections.

Please call the governor (518-474-8390) to thank him for endorsing much-needed hand recounts in close-vote-margin elections.

Then contact your state senator and assembly person and tell them you support the governor’s call for hand recounts in close elections.  The state senate has already passed one such bill.  See “FIND YOUR SENATOR ” and  “Who Is My Assemblymember?”

Automatic hand recounts in close-margin elections is already the law in many other states, as well as New York City and Ulster County. This legislation will give voters and candidates across the state equal rights to a recount.

More needs to be done to protect the vote count, including banning hybrid printer-scanners that can print over ballots after they are cast.  But routinely hand counting ballots in close-margin elections is an important first step to ensuring that our ballots are accurately counted.   Be sure to call the governor!  

(518) 474-8390

Cuomo calls for automatic recounts in close elections across NY state

DEC 16, 2019 | 3:50 PM

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo is calling for a recount.

Cuomo pitched legislation Monday as part of his planned 2020 State of the State address that would mandate automatic manual recounts in close elections across the state and lay out a set of standards for conducting the tallies.

Current law does not require vote recounts even in close elections.

“By establishing clear rules mandating when a recount should be triggered and a process for local governments to follow, we’ll boost confidence in the democratic process and take another step toward transforming our electoral system into a model for the rest of the nation to follow,” Cuomo said.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia already provide for automatic recounts, which are conducted if the margin between the top two candidates is within certain parameters.

Under New York City Board of Elections policy, a recount is mandatory when the victory margin is under 0.5 percentage points, which triggered a recount this summer that saw Melinda Katz topple Tiffany Caban in the Queens district attorney race.
Cuomo said a majority of county board of elections offices do not have specific requirements regarding recounts.

“Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and there can’t be any confusion when it comes to their outcomes — otherwise people lose faith in the process,” he said. “Right now decisions about whether to proceed with recounts in closely contested races almost always get bogged down in costly and unnecessary litigation because there’s a hodgepodge of standards around the state.”

While recanvasses — reviews of voting machine results to compare them to the numbers recorded on canvass returns — are fairly common, full hand recounts usually only stem from audits or legal challenges.

Cuomo’s proposal would make recounts mandatory in statewide races in which the margin of victory for a candidate or ballot proposition is 0.2 percentage points or less. All other elections would have to be closer than 0.5% for a recount.

Sunday, March 29th, 2020, from noon to 6pm at Eastview Middle School in White Plains!  Opening Plenary with Evan Pritchard,  Willie Baptist  and the Truthworker Theater Company. Workshops will be posted in January!  Sponsorship opportunities and details to follow! Tickets can be purchased here

Corinne Segal has done a fabulous job with this interview on our food system, and how appropriate that it comes out on International Human Rights Day and on the day that we discuss Eric Holt-Gimenez’s book tonight at WESPAC at 7pm on Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?
Take a look here:…/nada-khader-on-the-pol… Thank you, Corinne!

We had a good group that came together including Martha Elder who has presented at WESPAC before (thanks to Tracy’s introduction).  She is the founder of Second Chance Foods and was recently featured on Channel 12 News: 
Here is Martha’s website:  She is doing very important food rescue work in our region and is getting fresh, healthy foods to those who need them most.  She will reach out to WESPAC in the coming weeks at times when she needs additional support.
Antoinette has sent in a suggestion about reviewing Westchester County’s mapping of food deserts.  Sonna will do some research to see if we can identify where these food deserts are located and how we can help address this.
Dan Wohl has invited the WESPAC Food Justice Committee to convene at his new workplace:  the Greenhouse and Education Center at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, New York, NY.  He is working on developing food security networks between NYC and the Hudson Valley.  Nada reached out to Chloe to see if she would like to bring her youth along for this outing.
Doug DeCandia gave us a substantial update about his current work: he is growing herbs and flowers with inmates at Sing Sing and Taconic prisons and is working with the mental health units.  He shared some wonderful photos with Nada of his work that are available upon request.  He and Jalal are exploring the idea of teaching a horticulture and nutrition course at Sing Sing.  He discussed the challenges of working with prison authorities in terms of getting fresh produce from a local CSA into the prison.  They are trying to see if the CSA produce could be added to the commissary list and could arrive in cardboard boxes to alleviate the security concerns of the prison authorities.  It is all a work in progress.  He will be in touch with us in the coming weeks and months at moments when he may need additional support for this important work.  Additionally, this weekend he is offering a workshop on the necessity of building equity in our food system at this soil and nutrition conference in Massachusetts:
We also discussed if, at the county government level, we could get buy in from the county to have any county operated facility commit to purchasing food for their cafeteria from local, small scale Hudson Valley ecological farmers and growers.  This change alone would be transformative for our local economy and would have a serious impact on reducing our carbon footprint and would help with climate change issues along with habitat and farm preservation and the promotion of biodiversity, the health of our precious pollinators and so much more.
We also discussed the utility of having a listing of all farms in Westchester County listing what items are grown and where they are made available.  This list may already be available – we need to research.  We would want to include here private property that is being leased to farmers to grow produce, flowers, herbs, raise animals, chickens, bee keeping etc.
Our December WESPAC Book Club gathering will take place on Tuesday, December 10th at 7pm with a discussion of “Can We Feed the World without Destroying It” by  Eric Holt Giménez.
Respectfully submitted,

Police, ICE and Immigrant Safety in Westchester County

Tuesday, October 22nd at 6pm • Yonkers Riverfront Library • 1 Larkin Center in Yonkers, NY 10701


Joseph Castelli
Police Chief, White Plains Police Department

John J. Mueller
Acting Police Commissioner, Yonkers Police Department

Richard Conway
Chief of Police, Port Chester Village

Jessica Young, Esq.
Westchester Supervising Attorney, Make the Road New York

Diana Sanchez
Yonkers Sanctuary Movement

Vanessa Agudelo (moderator)
Peekskill Trustee & New York Immigration Coalition

For more information, contact:
914-222-3244 • [email protected]


I’m writing on behalf of The Borgen Project, a nonprofit that is working to bring political attention to severe poverty. I’m hoping you can forward this to members of your organization. We’re trying to build support for programs that impact the world’s poor. The details are below and I appreciate your consideration. 130 million girls around the world are currently not enrolled in school. With an absence in educational opportunity for young women in various regions around the world, they are more likely to contract diseases such as HIV.

When they are thrown into child marriages, these adolescents face pregnancy and high rates of infant mortality. They are typically in regions that are more susceptible to environmental disaster, or are more often exposed to violence and extremism.

Keeping Girls in School Act is a bill that works to create diplomatic and innovative programs that close the gender gap in education. When girls are enrolled in school, poverty rates drop. The risk for disease, child marriage, and extremism in turn drops as well. When these women are given the opportunity to fight gender bias with independence and capable of creating their own careers, they are able to better help their own communities and in turn help stabilize these regions.

This transformation is crucial in fighting for justice around the world, so we must act. The need: 45 emails in support of Keeping Girls in School Act for the state of New York. Why this matters: Political offices tally how many calls, letters and emails they receive in support of each bill or program. Leaders and their staff use this info to determine how the leader should vote. 2 quick and easy ways to help: We need you… and we’ve made it incredibly simple for you to have an impact today.

Visit this link and enter your address: Our system will automatically send an email to the Congressional leaders representing you. This only takes 30-seconds to do and has a huge impact. Mobilize friends and family to do likewise. Forward this email to anyone you think who you think cares enough to take action. That’s all there is to it! If you’re looking to get involved with The Borgen Project, information on national volunteer opportunities (writers and political team) is listed here and internships are listed here.

Thank you!

Madison Daley

This enormously moving tribute to their son remains so valid today. Here is what WESPAC members Phyllis and Orlando submitted to the New York Times days after September 11th, 2001. It was not published by the New York Times:
Not in our Son’s Name 
By Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez
Copy of a letter sent to to the New York Times 
Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World Trade Center attack. Since we first heard the news, we have shared moments of grief, comfort, hope, despair, fond memories with his wife, the two families, our friends and neighbors, his loving colleagues, and all the grieving families that daily meet at the Pierre Hotel.

We see our hurt and anger reflected among everybody we meet. We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news about this disaster. But we read enough of it to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, and friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.

It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son’s death. Not in our son’s name.

Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world. But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times.

Copy of the Rodriguez’s letter to the White House: 

Dear President Bush:

Our son is one of the victims of Tuesday’s attack on the World Trade Center. We read about your response in the last few days and about the resolutions from both Houses, giving you undefined power to respond to the terror attacks.

Your response to this attack does not make us feel better about our son’s death. It makes us feel worse. It makes us feel that our government is using our son’s memory as a justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands.

It is not the first time that a person in your position has been given unlimited power and came to regret it. This is not the time for empty gestures to make us feel better. It is not the time to act like bullies.

We urge you to think about how our government can develop peaceful, rational solutions to terrorism, solutions that do not sink us to the inhuman level of terrorists.

Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez