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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2001
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Voter drive to expand political power

District Council 37 will launch a major voter registration campaign this year to increase the number of registered voters in the union and throughout the metropolitan area.

This year the term-limits law promises to leave at least 36 of 52 City Council seats vacant and up for grabs. New Yorkers also will choose a new mayor, Public Advocate and City Comptroller in the November 2001 elections, and a new governor in 2002.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of the upcoming elections,” said Michael Keogh, associate director of the DC 37 Political Action and Legislation Department. “We have the opportunity to change the face of politics in this city. We will choose our new boss, and the outcome of these political contests will affect every union member’s job.”

Last year DC 37’s Political Action team registered 8,500 new voters from the union’s ranks. And these new voters helped DC 37 deliver the vote: In New York State, every political candidate endorsed by DC37 won.

“This year we will be reaching unregistered members with phone calls and mailings,” said Legislative Aide Marietta Kremmidas. The union will also enlist local presidents, shop stewards and DC 37 community associations in training their members for voter registration, she said.

The Political Action and Legislation Dept. plans to sponsor voter registration drives at work sites and later in neighborhoods throughout the city. To vote in this year’s primary election on Sept. 11, the registration deadline is August 17.

With the goal of registering 100 percent of all eligible union members by June, District Council 37 aims to build a greater constituency poised to flex its political muscle and elect officials who are sensitive to the issues and concerns of union members.

“The lessons we learned from the Florida debacle are evident: The fight for the right to vote is an ongoing battle,” Mr. Keogh said.

“The right to vote is precious. Every vote does count. We have to be vigilant about protecting that right, because we know there are forces in this country that will try to subvert our members’ right to vote, he added.”




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