North Fork residents look to create local League of Women Voters chapter

Organizers of a new North Fork chapter of the League of Women Voters were surprised last Monday, June 4, when the turnout at a meeting to establish whether there was any interest to do so exceeded their expectations. 

About 60 people showed up at the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library when less than half that were anticipated. 

Looking to keep the momentum going, the group will hold a meeting Monday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, where they will discuss which committees they want to form on a range of topics — voter services, government, education, health, natural resources and housing, said Barbara Best of Cutchogue.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Ms. Best said. “It brings a lot of hope and a lot of direction, so you feel like you’re really going to accomplish something.”

The move to start the local chapter came out of neighbors discussing how they could participate more in their community, she said. 

The League of Women Voters is a national organization that focused on issues and voter rights, and does not support one particular party or candidate. 

It was appealing to organizers that the LWV is inclusive and along with promoting efforts to register voters, seeks to inform and discuss issues. 

“We thought that is was more like uniting our community in common concerns in a nonpartisan way,” Ms. Best said. “We like that this is bipartisan. And it’s not only for women. We also encourage men to come, so it’s really an open forum.”

Ms. Best and others attended a recent meeting of the LWV of the Hamptons where they asked questions and got a sense of what they’d like to bring back to the North Fork. The South Fork chapter is impressive in its commitment and community involvement, Ms. Best said. 

The North Fork chapter is already discussing placing a voter registration kiosk at Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library. Cookie Slader, of Cutchogue, a North Fork chapter member, said one of her top concerns is getting out the vote and making sure that local students who are turning 18 register. 

Anyone can join and have a voice, and people will gain an understanding of where they can concerns they have, said Ms. Slader. There will be room for different ways to get involved, no matter how much time locals can commit to the chapter, she said. 

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Photo caption: Barbara Butterworth, Barbara Best, Susan Wilson, Estelle Gellman, Karen Rich, Edana Cichanowicz at the meeting last Monday. (Courtesy photo)