CALENDAR
Thursday, April 16 "I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone" virtual performance, 4 p.m.
Friday, April 24 LWVMA Board Meeting by videoconference
Thursday, April 30 Last day to enter Teen Voting Rights Challenge student video contest
Wednesday, May 6 Virtual author talk with Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 25 - Sunday, June 28 LWVUS 54th National Convention, Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
HAPPENING NOW
Update on LWVMA Council Meeting
 
The LWVMA board is exploring how to hold our biennial Council meeting.  Council is currently scheduled for Saturday, June 13. At its April 24 meeting, the board will decide whether to continue to plan for an in-person meeting or switch to a videoconference meeting. Our LWVMA Bylaws, which we amended at last June's Convention, provide for staggered terms for officers and directors. Therefore, it is necessary to hold a Council meeting by the end of this fiscal year with delegates from local Leagues and members-at-large to elect new members for the LWVMA Board. 
 
We will let local Leagues know after the April 24 meeting how we are going to proceed, and will get information on a nominated slate and other business out by May 2. Please click here for more information on Council.
Celebrate LWVMA's Birthday Virtually
 
LWVMA is hosting an LWVMA 100th Anniversary Webinar Series in celebration of the League's 100th birthday and centennial of women's suffrage. The webinars are free and open to the public, and most will be recorded and available from our website. You can find all the details here. A  flyer is available.
 
The first virtual event, the critically-acclaimed one-woman performance, I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone, will be presented Thursday, April 16, at 4 p.m. This event is currently "sold out" but  click here to register for the wait list.
 
Next is a talk by Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, author of The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters. She was president of the national LWV from 1998 to 2002, the only African-American woman to head the League. She is an authority on the voting rights of African-Americans and currently a professor at the University of North Carolina. Her talk is Wednesday, May 6, at 7 p.m.  Click here to register. Registration is required and limited to 500 people.
COVID-19 Toolkit Available
 
A COVID-19 toolkit for local Leagues to help deal with this crisis is available on the LWVMA website. It is updated frequently and includes information from LWVUS as well as LWVMA notices on elections, remote meetings, and voter engagement. 
 
MassTrac, the legislation tracking service we subscribe to, is offering a public blog, blog.instatrac.com, updated daily, on the status of COVID-19-related legislation.
Be a Judge!
 
This year's student video contest, the Teen Voting Rights Challenge, asked high school students throughout the Commonwealth to make a 30-second video answering the question "Should 16-Year-Olds Have the Right to Vote?" We've extended the deadline for submissions to our video contest until April 30. 
 
We need judges for this contest. All the work is done in May from your own computer on your schedule. You will receive a link to all the videos and information on how to rank them. If you want to be a judge, email Taylor Grenga.
Options for Local League Annual Meetings
 
As local League Boards and Steering Committees consider their upcoming annual meetings, they should first decide whether they want to proceed with an in-person meeting, postpone their annual meeting to a future date, or have a remote meeting. Please click here for the LWVMA notice describing options and the availability of LWVMA Zoom conference capability.  
Welcome Your New Members!

LWVMA is offering an updated LWVMA New Member's Handbook. The booklet gives a solid overview of our three-tier approach from the League's mission through our advocacy and voter education work. Local League membership chairs can contact Taylor Grenga to send you copies for your new members. She will put your request on her to-do list to mail out when she is back in the LWVMA office!

The other useful membership resource for your League is the Who is the League? presentation with imbedded videos. It is a great tool for introducing your community, new members and long-time members to the LWV. Click here to review possible uses and see the simple instructions.
ELECTIONS & VOTING
Update on Holding Elections in Massachusetts

LWVMA and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition are working on draft legislation modifying election laws for the Sept. 1 primary and Nov. 3 general election to deal with the effects of the pandemic. The emergency legislation that allows for postponement and expanded early voting by mail for this spring's local elections sunsets June 30, so new legislation will be required. We expect the legislature to continue to deal with emergency situations from COVID-19 for the next 2 to 3 weeks. But we will be pushing for new election legislation shortly after that. 
 
Among the changes we will be seeking are:
  • continuing to allow COVID-19 concerns to qualify under the "physical disability" excuse for an absentee ballot
  • expand vote by mail opportunities, including covering the postage for requesting and returning ballots
  • expand deadlines to ensure early access to ballots and to ensure that delayed mail does not result in disenfranchisement
  • print mailed ballots in numerous languages
It will be difficult for Massachusetts to go from its current 5% mailed ballots to a much-larger percentage because we lack the infrastructure to handle anything like a 95% mail ballot election. But changes can and should be made, both to simplify and increase the use of mail ballots and to make in-person voting safe for both voters and poll workers. We will keep you updated.
 
Click here for more information on holding elections, including how local Leagues can help.
Moderator Training and Candidate Forums

The date for the moderator training webinar is being finalized, most likely the week of April 26. As soon as the date is final, we will send out registration for the training.
 
A training video for holding a candidates' forum online with a best practices guide should be available the week of April 20. If you want to schedule a candidates' forum on Zoom, please contact Brynne Gorman to use the LWVMA account and schedule your meeting. Please forward any questions to Lee Bona, Tanya Roy or Elizabeth Foster-Nolan.  
Voter Engagement Suggestions

LWVMA's voter engagement committee offers several suggestions about conducting voter registration, holding candidate forums, and getting out the vote during the pandemic. Take a look here. There are suggestions from LWVUS and ways to help your local elections officials.
THE TO-DO LIST
Per-Member Payments

As you develop your budget for the next fiscal year, please note there will be no change in per-member payments (PMPs) at the state level for the fiscal year starting July 1. National PMP will be set at the convention in June. Until then, you can work with the current $32 national PMP. State PMP remains individual, $23; and second in household, $5.75. No PMP is required at the state or national levels for 50-year-plus members or for students.
The  League Leader Update is  distributed to local  League  board members and LWVMA  leaders . Anyone can request the  Update  by  clicking here . Please review this  Update  for articles of interest to your  League  and include them in your local Bulletin.
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