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May Be the Change: Albany County League of Women Voters

By Natalie Criscione

I have a superpower. Perhaps you do too. It’s called a VOTE. And though it might seem to be dormant most of the time, shining forth now and then on an Election Day as you cast a ballot in local, statewide, or national elections, its essence is actually accessible to you everyday and anytime. 

Whenever you choose to EDUCATE yourself you are flexing your superpower. The more you know, the stronger you become. Think of this practice as food for your brain. And, there is more! A further doorway to your vast superpower, the one that not only requires your full attention, but needs it, is ENGAGEMENT. Think of engagement as immersion and awareness. It is the antithesis of apathy. The opposite of ignorance. Engagement is a trait that is demanded of citizens who desire to live in a free country. It involves education, observation, and understanding. It involves civil discussion, transparency, and truth. And, to be completely honest, in order for it to be fully realized, it needs YOU!

Enter The League of Women Voters of Albany County (LWVAC), a volunteer-run organization that is part of its much larger statewide and national namesake (originally founded by 1920 Chicago suffragists shortly before women won the right to vote). The LWVAC is, as its website states, “a non-partisan grassroots organization, [that] encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.” Don’t be fooled by the name however, the League of Women Voters is not just for women but for ALL who care about their government, their community, their society. It is for someone like you, Coop Scoop reader!

You might find yourself asking: How can I become stronger through education and engagement? That is exactly the kind of question that unleashes your superpower! The LWVAC provides the tools you need to get started. Some of those tools can be found amidst their vast voter registration drives happening in schools, colleges, community gatherings, and even grocery stores throughout Albany County; you can not only register to vote, but pick up a pocket-sized US Constitution too! Other tools involve public forums where you can meet candidates and ask questions. Furthermore, through programs that partner with other organizations, the LWVAC provides tools for citizens to become discerning critics in this age of mis- and dis-information. Still other tools involve the league’s in-depth analysis into public policy and consequent advocacy. The bottom line is that the LWVAC gives you the information you need to make your own informed choices. “We do not ever support a candidate or political party,” says Patricia Sibilia, the current Treasurer and former President of the LWVAC. “We just want voters to be educated and engaged.” 

Sibilia has come to understand education and engagement first hand through her many years of membership with the LWVAC and its various committees, which have included, among other things: naturalization ceremonies, poll reporting, and voter services. She has seen the positive results and witnessed the importance of an actively educated and engaged citizenry. Through her work with the League’s “observer corps,” for example, in which government is literally observed in real time and in person, Sibilia and others advocated for “new legislation to put in an independent redistricting commission,” something that was even more impactful for her personally as she became one of the commissioners. And, she has many more such testaments to her years of involvement.

If you’re interested in learning more about the League of Women Voters of Albany County, volunteering your time, or making a donation, visit their website at For an in-depth look at races in your area, the League provides access to a voter guide at where you can explore upcoming ballot issues; view a sample ballot; and “meet” candidates who, as Sibilia says, “represent themselves in their own words.”

During the month of May as you pay for your groceries at Honest Weight, flex your superpowers and say YES to the question “Would you like to round up to the nearest dollar.” Be the Change!!! Be educated! Be empowered! VOTE!!!!

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