LPNY State Download ❄ | Progressive Governance Academy in MA, update on new voting machines & more! | December 2023

Welcome back to the LPNY State Download – our quarterly newsletter! Here’s a look at some of what LPNY has been up to the past few months – and what’s been happening across the state! 

We are happy to announce that we are holding a PGA for the Northeast Region in Massachusetts (venue TBA) for April 26, 2024. There are limited seats available, so email me soon to reserve your spot!


Despite large investments to get progressive candidates elected to office, very few resources exist to support elected officials once they begin to govern. The skills you need to win an election – like fielding, fundraising, communications – are not the same skills you need to govern effectively – such as policy analysis, constituent outreach, coalition management, and parliamentary procedure.


The Progressive Governance Academy exists to ensure that state and local elected officials that align with us have the resources, assets, tools, and skills that are needed to become powerful and effective leaders. If you’re interested in being a part of the Northeast PGA, please email email me.

In our LPNY Organizing Committee Operating Guidelines, we established the roles and responsibilities of the “Organizing Committee”, LPNY’s governing board of our local chapter, its term, and its officers. 


According to the guidelines, the end of the current term of our Organizing Committee is July 2024.  The Organizing Committee has directed LPNY staff to open up the process to allow interested members to apply for consideration to be a part of the committee. Current Organizing Committee members are encouraged to re-apply if they are still interested in being part of our governing body. 

If you are interested in being a part of the leadership of our chapter, please fill out this form by April 26, 2024.  LPNY Staff will collect the applications from members and present them to the Organizing Committee at their May meeting. Incoming Organizing Committee members will be notified by late May, and will attend their first meeting at the June Organizing Committee meeting.

Common Cause New York, The Black Institute, & Activists Fight New Voting Machines 


Despite objections from numerous voting rights organizations and individuals, in August, the New York State Board of Elections voted to certify the ExpressVote XL – a hybrid, touchscreen voting machine allowing voters to mark their ballots electronically instead of on traditional paper ballots. On November 29th, Common Cause New York filed a lawsuit against the State BOE contending that the ExpressVote XL does not let voters verify their ballots independently and privately, as required by New York election law. If the Albany County Supreme Court sides with these groups, local Boards of Elections will no longer be able to purchase the ExpressVote XL.

This lawsuit comes on the heels of another election cycle where the ExpressVote XL malfunctioned. In November’s election, voters again used these machines in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, four years after an earlier problem with the machines not recording votes. The machines produced ballot summary cards with selections for judicial candidates that were inconsistent with voters’ selections causing confusion as to whether voters were accurately recorded. 


Voting rights organizations across New York and election security experts agree that the ExpressVote XL is a step backwards from the gold standard of election security – the paper ballots that New Yorkers are used to. For more information on the lawsuit or on passing a resolution in your county legislature to help stop the ExpressVote XL, contact Susan Lerner at slerner@commoncause.org.

LPNY Organizing Committee

The LPNY Organizing Committee is the governing board of our state chapter. They decide what campaigns we join, help to design our state programming, and help to build our chapter and our network. Many members of the Organizing Committee are also part of some of our national issue steering committees and in leadership positions on our identity caucuses.

LPNY In person Organizing Committee meeting August, 2023 – L-R Back row: Korin Kirk, Binghamton City School Board Member; Chad Radock, LP Assoc. Organizing Director; Sam Fein, Albany County Legislator; Veronica Pilar, Tompkins County Legislator; Tannya Benavides, LPTX Chapter Manager. L-R Front row: Mel Carrera-Solano, LPNY Chapter Manager; Jennifer Mecozzi, Buffalo City School Board Member; Michele Hirsch, Kingston Alder (LPNY Co-Chair); Sandy Nurse, NYC Council Member. (Missing from Photo: Robin Wilt, Brighton Town Council Member (LPNY Co-Chair); Dan Aymar-Blair, Beacon City Council Member; Carmen DeLaRosa, NYC Council Member;  Beau Harbin, Cortland County Legislator; Mary Lupien, Rochester City Council Member.

The LPNY Organizing Committee is the first and oldest member-led governance body in our network, except for the Board of Directors. As the first Organizing Committee in the nation, our chapter pioneered many of the processes and methods that have been skillfully adapted to the style of other state chapters across the country. The same can be said of the leaders on our Organizing Committee, some of whom are highlighted below.  

Michele Hirsch, Alder from Kingston, not only serves as the Co-Chair of LPNY, but is also a member of the Housing Steering Committee nationally, and helps to guide our housing work network-wide. Robin Wilt, Councilmember from Brighton, is also on the Leadership Committee of the Women’s Caucus, helping to lead the development of the caucus, as well as on our chapter.  Korin Kirk, Binghamton City School Board Member, is the former Co-Chair of the Black Caucus, and currently serves as a member of its Leadership Committee. Jen Mecozzi termed out of being Chapter Co-Chair last year, and currently serves as a member of the School Board Steering Committee. Mary Lupien, Council Member from Rochester, serves on our Public Safety Steering Committee. Finally, Dorcey Applyrs, Chief Auditor of Albany, was a founding LPNY Organizing Committee Member, former LPNY Chair, and currently serves on the national Board of Directors.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our network-leading Organizing Committee, or are interested in serving in some of our issue steering committees, please contact email me for more information.