September 2019 – Update from the Chair

Constitution Day events with focus on National Popular Vote were held in ten different venues in Florida. Each of these was sponsored by League of Women Voter NPV groups working with local colleges, universities or other organizations. While the audiences and formats for each of these varied, the focus was on the US Constitution, the Electoral College and National Popular Vote. In many cases, voter registration was also offered.

These events were conceived and implemented by leaders in each League. Their dedication and hard work cannot be underestimated. We are grateful for their time, energy, and commitment to making democracy work. The following scenes and brief summaries give you a sense of the diversion of activities at each of these ten Constitution Day events.

Patrick “Rosy” Rosensteil, a senior consultant with NPV, Inc based in Minnesota spoke on National Popular Vote at three of the Constitution Day events. His command of the NPV material and low keyed style caught the attention of even the most skeptical of audiences. We are most grateful to the John Koza and the NPV, Inc. which arranged for Rosy to speak at these events.

Kathleen Crampton, Chair, Floridians for National Popular Vote

Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center, Key Largo

The Upper Keys LWV partnered with the Business and Professional Women to celebrate Constitution Day with their community. 75 people enjoyed the reception and educational materials focusing on the National Popular Vote. The first Keys all female BSA troop led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a video message from Congresswoman Debbie Murcarsel-Powel supporting voting rights with passage of H.R. 1 – For the People Act – which supports expanding voter registration/access, making Election Day a federal holiday, and limiting the removal of people from voter rolls. Awards were presented to middle and high school students for the winning essays on “What are the essential qualities of a good citizen in the Keys.” Candice Hoke, a nationally renowned election cybersecurity consultant spoke on the issues facing Florida in its election processes. She encouraged the LWV to focus on Election Cybersecurity with as much commitment as eliminating gerrymandering. The Upper Keys LWV was delighted with the community interest and looks forward to future Constitution Day events.

Attendees stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in the Auditorium at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center.

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This photo includes (left to right) Linda Kaplan who organized the event, Kathleen Crampton of NPV, and Cathy Bosworth, President LWV Upper Keys.

University of Central Florida, Orlando

Held in the Student Union on Tuesday, September 17th, the University of Central Florida’s Constitution Day was themed around the Stonewall Riots and civil rights commemorating the 50-year anniversary. The presentation was open to the public and lasted approximately 75 minutes. Coordinator of the event was Barbara Smith, executive director of communications at the College of Undergraduate Studies. There were approximately 100 attendees of which half were students. The Orange County League, including NPV, and the Student Government Association were represented at tables outside the Key West Ballroom. The Orange County NPV Committee provided a revolving video presentation viewed by students and faculty before and after the event and during the high traffic lunch period.

The Introductory Speech was presented by UNF Provost Elizabeth Dooley. Associate Professor Patricia Farless, historian and member of the gay community was the main guest speaker and spoke on the dynamics of constitutional law. Additional speakers included Dr. Teri Fine, associate director of the Lou Frey Institute and Anjella Warnshuis, coordinator of Lou Frey and VP of the Pride Faculty and Staff Association. Pizza and bottled water were served.

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Welcoming attendees are: clockwise from back left: Leslie Feinberg, Eugene Stoccardo, Dorian Coppenhaver, and Anne Coppenhaver.

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Introducing attendees to NPV are forefront to back: Anne Coppenhaver, Eugene Stoccardo, Victor Collazo (voter registration), Christa Hyatt (membership)

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Registering attendees were: Jackie Hansen, Christa Hyatt, Victor Collazo, and Eugene Stoccardo

Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Meyers

Margret S. Sudgen Welcome Center was the venue for the National Popular Vote event which was jointly sponsored by the League of Women Voters for Lee County and the Political Science and Administration Department of the Florida Gulf University. Held on Tuesday, September 17, Dr. Green opened the session with a presentation on the Electoral College. This was followed by Patrick Rosensteil who talked about how the National Popular Vote rectified the shortcomings of the current “Winner Take All” system while not changing the Electoral College. About 50 people attended, of which about half were students.

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Pictured here left to right are: Stasia Arcarese and Jan Lonsdale from the LWV of Lee County; Patrick “Rosie” Rosenstiel, Senior Consultant, National Popular Vote, and Dr. Roger Green, Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science and Administration Department, FGCU Jan Lonsdale was primarily responsible for organizing the event.

University of South Florida, Tampa

This event was held in the Marshall Student Union Room on the campus of the USF on Tuesday, September 17 in the afternoon. Deb Mazzafarro, National Popular Vote Subject Matter Expert for Floridians for National Popular Vote was the speaker. USF Professors Steve Tauber and Gary Manka were panelists. Shirley Arcuri was instrumental in organizing the event.

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Panelists at USF from left: Deb Mazzaferro, and USF Professors Steve Tauber and Gary Manka

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LWVHC members are USF, from left: Jack Smith, Sharon Seiden, Mickey Castor and Christine Bright (NPV co-chairs of the LWVHC)

University of Tampa, Tampa

The Constitution Day event at the University of Tampa was held at the Vaughn Center Auditorium. It began in the evening on Tuesday, September 17 with about 100 people in attendance. Deb Mazzafarro, National Popular Vote Subject Matter Expert for Floridians for National Popular Vote spoke with Digna Alvarez and Geri Kramer of the Hillsborough SOE office as panelists. Raven King was the moderator. Again, Shirly Arcuri was instrumental in organizing this event.

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The photo on the above shows the audience at University of Tampa event.

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The Panelists at the University of Tampa, from left, included Digna Alvarez and Geri Kramer of the Hillsborough SOE office; Deb Mazzaferro, and the Moderator, Raven King, Speaker of the General Assembly.

Hillsborough Community College, Tampa

On Wednesday, September 18th, LWVHC members Jill McDoannold , and Sharon Seiden joined the Student Government at the Yybor City Campus of Hillsborough Community College to celebrate Constitution Day. They talked with students about the National Popular Vote and the role the League plays in educating the public about govenmental issues and advocating for change.

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Jill McDonald and Sharon Seiden provided information on NPV during Hillsborough Community College’s Constitution Day activities.

Saint Leo University, Tampa

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LWVHC members Christine Bright (left) and Kass Pilczuk (right) represented the League at Saint Leo University’s event Tuesday evening, September 17th They shared information about the League and its activities, including National Popular Vote.

University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

While turnout at the University of North Florida on Tuesday, September 17th was disappointing, there was a small gathering, one of whom was the Coordinator of Students Activities at UNF. She was thrilled to make the connection with the LWV and the NPV group and is eager to relaunch the effort with support from the school administration. Pam Edwards-Roine coordinated the event.

The Tiger Bay Club, St. Petersburg

The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club hosted a luncheon on National Popular Vote at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Thursday, September 19. The Tiger Bay Club holds luncheon which feature thoughtful conversations on tough questions ensue providing grassroots civic engagement for the St. Petersburg community. With 75 in attendance, there was a lively debate between those who support NPV and those who do not. Patrick “Rosy” Rosentheil from NPV was the speaker.

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Shown here at the Tiger Bay Club are, left to right, LWVHC President, Dr. Idelia Phillips, Deb Mazzaferro, Christine Bright, co-chair of the League’s NPV action group, and nationally know NPV advocate Patrick Rosensteil.

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida

Florida Atlantic’s Constitution Day event was held on Wednesday, September 25 at its Lifelong Learning Center. With over 500 in attendance, Dr. Kevin Wagner, Chair of the Department of Political Science opened the program by profiling Robert J. Bailyn’s whose bequest funded the 7th Annual event. He also recognized Ken Thomas, President of the LWV Palm Beach County, for the League’s support of the event, and discussed this year’s theme, “Are you being heard? ” Ana Navarro, the well-known Political Strategist and Commentator for CNN, NBC, and Telemundo, gave her cryptic and often humorous assessment of the current US political situation. As a card carrying Republican and immigrant from Nicaragua, she had a unique perspective on the today’s very polarized political environment. She was followed by Patrick Rosensteil, also a Republican, who explained how passage of National Popular Vote will make all votes equal and draw more people into participating in the election of the President. Finally, Ilene Prusher, FAU School of Communications talked about the challenges facing journalists in a world where the news cycle was several seconds and most copy was 148 characters. The event was very successful, and plans being made to host similar events later in the academic year.

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LWV members at the NPV Table after FAU’s Constitution Day Event. Cynthia Archbold, LWVPBC NPV Chair, Marcia, NPV Network Chair, Ken Thomas, President LWV PBC, and Kim Lansing, NPV Communications Coordinator.

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Dr. Kevin Wagner, Chair, Department of Political Science at FAU talks with Patrick Rosensteil, Senior Consultant with NPV, Inc.

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Attendees at the Lifelong Learning Center Auditorium.

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Ana Navarra, Patrick Rosensteil, and Ilene Prusher on stage.