I didn’t know who to vote for… so I didn’t vote.
I have heard these words repeated over and over again since the November 5th Election. Why? Because the over 85,000 voters in our database who have relied on finding the bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide in their mailboxes every year – the guide that explained both who to vote for and what Choice means on a County level – did not receive it! This year, there was no ProChoice Voting Guide mailed out to our Westchester voters because we simply did not have the money.
The results are clear and Westchester has paid the price. In 2013, pro-choice candidates lost in astonishing numbers. County legislative seats that should have been wins for pro-choice candidates were losses. In District 10, (part of New Rochelle and Eastchester), the pro-choice challenger who took on the incumbent who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman, lost by 485 votes. In District 14, (part of Yonkers and Mount Vernon), the pro-choice challenger who took on an 18-year incumbent who votes against women at every opportunity including her historic vote to deny women safe access to reproductive health care, lost by 890 votes. And there are more districts just like these two. These are races in which our ProChoice Voting Guide would have made the difference between winning and losing!
2013 stands in sharp contrast to 2012, when our support for pro-choice candidates resulted in unprecedented victories, and we elected our endorsed candidates at all levels of government. Ninety-one percent of the candidates WCLA – Choice Matters endorsed, won! Those wins could not have happened without you or our ProChoice Voting Guide. (Please make a contribution today!)
Did you know that in odd year elections like this one, approximately seven out of every nine voters are women, and of those seven, five are over the age of 50? Not your typical internet and social media users. Reaching this target population requires more traditional avenues of communication – yes, snail mail – the U.S. Postal Service. And the postage costs just keep going up.
Anti-choice extremist County Executive Astorino said repeatedly, “County elections have nothing to do with abortion.” That could not be farther from the truth, but people believed him because there was no voting guide to refute him. County government plays a very significant role in reproductive rights and the implications can be huge. Just look at Albuquerque, New Mexico. That municipality just voted on an initiative to ban abortions after 20 weeks. That could happen here.
Reproductive rights is absolutely a County issue.
The people we elect decide the County budget. Departments relating to women and families comprise a large portion of that budget. The County Executive nominates and the County Board of Legislators (CBL) confirms appointments to the Westchester Medical Hospital Board; thus the Board’s elected officials ultimately control whether the hospital will continue to provide abortions. The CBL decides whether inmates will get pregnancy tests, abortions, and prenatal care on request and without delay. The County Health Department decides which clinics will provide services and whether they will provide reproductive health services, counseling, and referrals for abortions. The County Executive appoints, and CBL votes to confirm commissioners important to the pro-choice issue including Health, Social Services, and Corrections.
Last year, those elected officials gutted all funding to the community health centers which directly impacted women. Funding for comprehensive sex education is gone, and instead, the County Executive, who is winning awards from abstinence-only organizations, vetoed a bill giving women safe access to reproductive health centers.
Sadly, WCLA – Choice Matters forecasted election night results. We put our voting guide on line but that only reached a limited number of people. In contrast, our mailed bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide reaches the all-important target audience – women – who are rushing between work and other responsibilities, and those that do not live on the internet. The mailed voting guide provides, literally, an in-hand education that can and does go from the mailbox to the voting booth.
Make a gift to Choice Matters to support our work.
In 2014, all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and New York State government are up for election: Congress, Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, and the New York State Senate and Assembly. This election matters. Last year, we watched as a turncoat Senate Democrat turned his back on his constituents and aligned himself with the anti-choice Republican leader. Together, they blocked the Women’s Equality Agenda from coming to the floor for a vote. They made us realize how much New York has in common with Texas.
If we are not able to distribute our ProChoice Voting Guide to our database of over 85,000 Westchester County residents, November 5th, 2013 will serve as a precursor of elections to come.
But you can stop that from happening by contributing to WCLA – Choice Matters today.
Choice Matters has been standing strong since 1972! That’s 40+ years! Choice Matters has interviewed hundreds of thousands of female voters, identified those who are pro-choice, and added them to our database. We do this every single week, each and every year. Itâ€™s our amazing database and our mailed ProChoice Voting Guide that make us victorious. We’ve always understood this. But we just didn’t have the money to print and mail out our voting guide this year – and pro-choice candidates lost across the County. We cannot afford to let that happen again next year.
Your support today will make it possible for us to send our ProChoice Voting Guide and newsletter which informs the public about Choice, elected officials, reproductive rights actions, challengers’ positions, and our critical endorsements. This voting guide newsletter scares some candidates and elected officials, and rewards others, because it holds them accountable for their actions.
Your generous contribution of $25, $100, $250 or more will help Choice Matters’ ProChoice campaign continue to identify and educate households across the county and state.
Â Choice Matters is a mighty pro-choice organization with a proven strategy. That’s because you, our donors, have given us extraordinary support. We hope you will continue to do so because we need your help now more than ever. Your contribution, whatever you can afford – large or small – will make a difference. Every dollar truly counts.
Please mail your contribution today or you may securely contribute on line at www.choicematters.org.
Supporting Choice Matters is the most valuable action an advocate for Choice can take.