Contact: David Galin
ALBANY, NY – Mayor Kathy Sheehan was joined by Rejoice the Vote founder Jeff Furman, Chief City Auditor Dr. Dorcey Applyrs, City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar, NAACP Albany President Debora Brown-Johnson and members Beverly Ivey and Barry Walston, League of Women Voters President Patricia Sibilia and member Mary Berry, and CANA Chairperson Zachary Simpson to accept the "Votingest City Challenge" award given to the New York State city (population 40,000+) with the largest voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential Election – of which, approximately 75% of Albany's registered voters participated in.
Video of award presentation.
Jeff Furman, founder of Rejoice the Vote, said, "Voting is one way we can participate in a civic society and one part of democracy. Democracy is also one way we can be truly human and responsible to each other. It is in that sense Rejoice the Vote is celebratory and dedicated to understanding our past while working for a more just, kind, inclusive society. We are glad to honor Albany for having the highest percentage of voter participation in the big city category of New York State. We thank all those who worked to make that happen. The work continues.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "This is a tremendous honor for the City of Albany. Partners like the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and CANA have worked very hard to help increase voter turnout and ensure our residents' voices are heard, and Albany would not have become the votingest city in New York State without their efforts. This is something our residents should strive for year after year, and I look forward to working even harder with Rejoice the Vote and our community partners to increase our turnout in future elections."
Chief City Auditor Dr. Dorcey Applyrs said, "During this time when people's fundamental right to vote is being suppressed throughout the United States, I do not take for granted the opportunity to celebrate Albany being the most votingest city in New York State. This acknowledgement is symbolic of Albany residents' persistence to allow their voices to be heard through voting and the grassroots efforts to protect our democracy undertaken by many organizations, elected leaders and everyday citizens. I would like especially thank Jeff Furman of Rejoice the Vote, for his efforts locally and nationally to promote and protect voting.”
Albany NAACP President Debora Brown-Johnson said, "The NAACP believes information is power and informed voters are powerful! Congratulations Albany!”
League of Women Voters of Albany County President Patricia Sibilia said, "As the President of an all-volunteer organization, I'm extremely proud of how we shifted and adapted our Get Out the Vote approach due to the pandemic, and together with the new voting legislation and our partners, we made a significant impact on voter turnout."
CANA Chair Zachary Simpson said, "When I learned that Albany was receiving the “Votingest City Challenge” award, I was thrilled and encouraged by the news. The 2020 election was extraordinarily unique in so many ways. It occurred during the height of a global pandemic. Candidates needed to think of new and innovative ways to campaign and reach the voters. The petitioning process was challenging with social distancing. The use of virtual meetings and social media became more important than ever. I am so proud that Albany demonstrated such statewide leadership in voter turnout in the 2020 election, and it shows that all our efforts paid off. Congratulations Albany!"
About Rejoice the Vote: Jeff Furman served on the Ben & Jerry’s corporate board for almost 40 years, providing in-house legal counsel and fostering many of the company’s social initiatives. Jeff’s current role is Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors Emeritus, a role he is happy to do alongside being President of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. Jeff resides in Ithaca, New York where he is the president of Social Ventures, as well as a co-founder of the Community Dispute Resolution Center and a community micro-finance program. Jeff has also served on the local school board, working to eliminate race and socio-economic status as a predictor of student success, and is an advisor to the Dorothy Cotton Institute, and Alliance of Families for Justice. Alongside his other commitments Jeff is on the Board of the Oakland Institute and developing Rejoice the Vote.