Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

August 19, 2018
In This Issue:

August 21, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., District Meetings with District Candidates for Town Council, in various meeting rooms: see below.
August 28, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m., First Day Celebration: LWV Amherst table for Voter Registration and Single Payer Health Care, Amherst Town Common.
August 29,  7 p.m.-9 p.m., Forum for At-Large Candidates for Town Council, Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium.
September 6, 2 p.m.- 3:30 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting at 11 Western Lane. Open to All Members, but please email the host so she knows numbers to expect.
September 17, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Their Fight is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren, at 197 Pondview Drive.
September 25,  National Voter Registration Day.
September 27, 7 p.m., Opening Meeting at Amherst Woman's Club. Members and their guests only.
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A Message from the LWVA Steering Committee

This summer has been unusually busy for the League with the Booksale now occurring in late July and early August and with the state primary and town preliminary elections scheduled for September 4. The League had to work on an Election Guide and forums over the summer so that information would be available to voters before the election.

The Steering Committee would like to thank Cynthia and Jerry Brubaker and their many helpers for the very successful Booksale. This fundraiser is a lot of work by many League members and friends but, over the years, the Booksale has helped the Amherst League keep dues low which in turn allows some to join who might not otherwise do so.

The Steering Committee would also like to thank Kathy Campbell for all of the work she and her committee have done to organize the pre-election forums and produce an Election Guide. The Election Guide will appear in the August 31 issue of the Amherst Bulletin and will be posted online on the League website. This committee will continue work after September 4 in preparation for the November 6 election.

Opening meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 27 at the Amherst Woman's Club. The program will be about Ranked Choice Voting. Membership renewal letters will be sent out in early September. We hope you will join us as we begin another League year!

LWVA News: Coming Events 

 For Elections on Tuesday, September 4
Opportunities to Meet the Candidates for Town Council

Meet the District Candidates:

Opportunities to meet the candidates from your district running to become district members of the new Town Council will be provided by the Amherst League on Tuesday, August 21. At the time of writing, most of the candidates were planning to attend.

All five events will be held from 7-9 p.m., in a space which is in or near the individual districts.
Here  are the meeting places:
     District 1: Amherst Survival Center
     District 2: Pole Room, Bangs Center
     District 3: Large Activity Room, Bangs Center
     District 4: Woodbury Room, Jones Library
     District 5: Munson Memorial Library

The District meetings will have a tripartite structure. After brief introductory comments by the candidates, each candidate will meet with small groups of participants. After each group has had ten minutes or so with each candidate, the candidates will join together and answer questions as a panel. One or two questions will be asked by the League moderator; then the floor will be opened for questions from the voters.
Hear the At-Large candidates: 
The at-large candidates will answer questions in a more traditional forum (possible because of the smaller number of candidates for the at-large positions) on Wednesday, August 29 from 7-9 p.m. in the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium. The forum will be broadcast on Amherst Media. 
Important Information about Voting
Absentee Voting: You may apply for absentee ballots at the Town Clerk's office, until 5 p.m. on August 31, 2018. In-person absentee voting is also available there through August 31. For more information, call the Town Clerk's office at 259-3035. Let's hope you are already registered, since August 15 was the deadline for registration for the September 4 elections.  (You have until October  17 to register to vote in the General Election on November 6.) 
Where to Vote on September 4: If you'd like information about districts, precincts, maps and polling places, click here and scroll down the page for the information you'd like.  
What the Ballots Are Like: Because a preliminary election for Town Council  (to limit the number of candidates) is occurring at the same time as the primary election to the State Legislature, voters will receive two ballots on September 4. For sample ballots for the two elections, click here or find them at the Town Clerk's office in the Amherst Town Hall.
The Primary Election Ballot is the one you are familiar with.  Each party has a ballot, with Democratic or Republican or Libertarian contests for federal, state-wide, and regional offices. As usual, unenrolled voters may select any ballot; voters registered with a party will receive the corresponding ballot. On this ballot, there is the possibility of a write-in vote, because there are several announced write-in candidates for State Senate.    
(Write-in Candidates: A voter may write in the name of a person not listed on the ballot in the appropriate write-in space. Don't forget to fill in the corresponding oval to the right of the space. A mistake in the spelling of the name does not invalidate the vote if the intent of the voter can be determined.)   
The Preliminary Election Ballot includes candidates for District and At-large Town Councilors. The preliminary election will select four candidates for each district and six at-large candidates to run in the general election on November 6, 2018. (There are no District candidates on the District 1 ballot because only four candidates are running.)
LWVA Election Guide for the preliminary election: The LWVA Guide will appear in the August 31 Amherst Bulletin and be online here with
information about the candidates. 
LWVMA Election Guide for the Massachusetts Primary Election: The State LWV Guide is available only online here.  Here you can get information on all the candidates for all elections in the state. If you fill in your address, you will get only the candidates who will be on your ballot (including the write-ins). When the information is available, you will be sent your polling place.  Then you may request that a reminder to vote be sent to your cell-phone or computer.   
Amherst Media is showing five -minute spots for Town Council candidates on Channel 17 and online (click here.)  
Town Clerk Seeks Election Workers for Upcoming Elections
Amherst Town Clerk Margaret Nartowicz is seeking election workers for the upcoming double elections on September 4th and November 6th. The Town Clerk writes: " Staffing polling places for the coming elections on September 4th and November 6th has been very challenging not only because of the double elections occurring on each date, but also because September 4th falls the day after Labor Day, and is the first day of classes for many pre-k through college students."  
  • All new election workers are required to attend training prior to working an election. 
  • Workers must be registered to vote either in Amherst or in Massachusetts.
  • The rate of pay for election workers is $11 per hour.
Please share with neighbors, family, friends, and colleagues that may be interested. 
Express your interest, as soon as possible, by contacting the Amherst Town Clerk's Office:
Phone: (413) 259-3035;  to email, click here .
Would you like a League VOTE sign for your yard?

The Amherst LWV has a number of yard signs which we would be happy to loan to the first who contact us. (For the northern half of  Amherst, click here ; for the southern half of  Amherst, click here)
Reminder: because the League is non-partisan, a League Vote sign can not be in the same yard as signs for any candidates.
    LWV Amherst at First Day Celebration 
An earlier voter registration
Nancy DiMattio, Eva Cashdan, and Barbara Pearson will be at the First Day celebration on Tuesday, August 28, on the Amherst Town Common (rain location Amherst Regional High School Cafeteria) from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.  They will be registering voters and handing out information about Medicare for All.

Opening Meeting, September 27: Save the Date!

  Opening Meeting will be on Thursday, September 27 at the Amherst Woman's Club, starting at 7 p.m.
Our program this year will be a presentation on Ranked Choice Voting (also known as Instant Run-off) by Voter Choice Massachusetts (VoterchoiceMA.)
We will get a chance to see how ranked choice voting works by voting on different kinds of cookies that members will have baked. Don't expect to munch, sip, and chat at the very beginning of the meeting, because we need to save our taste buds for sampling the cookies (which comes midway through the presentation.)
There will be more information on both ranked choice voting and Voter Choice Massachusetts in the September issue of the e-bulletin. You may have seen or heard of the recent Boston Globe endorsement of ranked choice voting: if you'd like to read it, click here. 

LWVA News: Recent Events

On the 2018 Book Sale:

Book Sale Dream

     Imagine this: a school gymnasium with 3 side walls covered with cardboard boxes stacked 5 boxes high.  Covering the floor space are many dozens of tables, each with signs announcing a genre of books such as history, children, cookbooks, biography, fiction, self-help, etc. as well as CDs, DVDs, and records.  Now imagine the time, effort, physicality it takes for members to unpack the boxes, decide which books are worthy of being included and what category they belong in, and then deliver them to the correct table.  All the while people continue to arrive at the door of the gym with armloads, carloads, grocery bags, dollies of more books.  Those working inside watch in dread and delight, and wonder if all the sorting and organizing can be accomplished in 3 weeks.  Yes, it is hard, hot work, but as one scurries among the tables to find the "right" spot for each book it is fun to talk with friends one hasn't seen in a long time, to connect with someone newly met, to get recommendations about books others have enjoyed, to laugh about an unusual book topic, to hit the snack table.

Books begin to arrive.
The work of sorting.


Now imagine the doors to the gym open on each of the five sale days and customers flock in and pore over the inventory of thousands of items, most leaving with at least several, or as many did, a box or bag full.  Dealers come on their day and often after that.  They spend lots of money.  League members work as cashiers, as attendants who keep the tables refilled and organized and help customers find a particular section or author. 

Dealers waiting to enter.
Busy,busy cashiers.

When the sale is over, books are given away to nonprofits, teachers, League members.  Even then books remain.  They go to a company who inspects them, sells some, or shreds the damaged ones into recycled paper.  The books are gone, but the cleanup remains: tables taken down, many hundreds of cardboard boxes are flattened, the school gym cleaned.

Alas, throwaways.
The sale is over for this year.


 Imagine no more.  This really happened, and resulted in an extremely successful money-making fund raiser.  Of course, it took many weeks of planning and over 100 volunteers.  Thanks especially to Cynthia and Jerry Brubaker who were in charge and orchestrated it all with expertise and good spirits.
     "So, do people still read books?"  "You bet."
-written by Trish Farrington, the assistant editor
Thanks from 2018 Book Sale Co-chairs  
Cynthia and Jerry Brubaker
We want to thank everyone who donated books, unpacked and sorted books, cashiered and helped with set-up and clean-up of this year's book sale! It is a huge effort and this year things went smoothly. There was a core committee who planned and oversaw the sale and everyone worked hard. And most of the time we had a great time. On a few days in early July it was beastly hot in the gym but League members came and helped anyway!
We had some Treasures in amongst the books this year and they will be auctioned off. We sold approximately 20,000 books, CDs, DVDs and vinyls and we grossed approximately $20,000.
This income will go toward League projects like printing new material about Amherst's new form of government, a Leadership program for high school girls, educational programs, and voter registration efforts.
Next year, please consider joining our core committee and be a part of an exciting and rewarding Amherst tradition...our amazing annual book sale!!
Cynthia (Jerry taking the picture, as all the other great photos from the sale.)
     See picture below for Book Sale Lost and Found.

 If you left one of these items at the gym, please contact Cynthia  at 253-6679 or by email.
Found. Did you lose one/all?


Recap of Legislative Session

The LWVMA had some successes in the legislative session that just ended. It also supported some bills that didn't quite make it, and will be on the State League's "to do" list for the next session. For a review of what happened to the League-supported bills, click here.

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage!

 2020 will bring the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which granted the right to vote to women. LWV of Massachusetts and a number of individual leagues in the state are members of the Women's Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts, Inc., together with many other non-profit organizations, educational institutions, agencies, and groups.

If you'd like to see the list of partners, or learn more about the WSCC of Massachusetts, and its plans for 2020,  click here. You can follow them on Facebook at Suffrage100MA.
(On August 18 , 1920, the 19th Amendment, was ratified by Tennessee, providing the final ratification necessary to add the amendment to the Constitution. The editor can remember being at a women's history conference in the 1970s, where she heard about the Tennessee legislator who listened to his mother, and changed his vote to provide the vote needed for the amendment's passage. (See the classic history by Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle, for the story.)

LWVUS News  

Also Celebrate the Centennial of the League of Women Voters in 2020!
The LWVMA's Facebook post for August 18 points out that "The League of Women Voters, a 'mighty political experiment' designed to help newly enfranchised women exercise thei r responsibilities as voters, had been founded in Chicago six months earlier [than the Tennessee vote]." So 2020 will be the centennial of both Women's Suffrage AND the League of Women Voters.  
LWVUS has a 100th Anniversary Committee to assist and guide celebration plans. Consult their website here for information.  The Committee has produced a toolkit and  developed a survey to find out what individual Leagues' programming plans are.

This monthly message is for anyone interested in the League, not just members. If you know someone who might be interested, forward this message and invite them to subscribe themselves, using the link below.