CALENDAR
Friday, August 31
Deadline to submit absentee ballot (5 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 4
Massachusetts primary
Friday, September 21
LWVMA board meeting
Saturday, October 20
LWVMA League Leaders Lunch, Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, 9 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
From Our President

Dear League Members,                

Summer is usually a quiet time reserved for family, reading, and outdoor activities, but I am so grateful to our hard-working League members who have been deeply involved all during this very hot summer.  Thirty-three delegates represented Massachusetts at the national League Convention in Chicago in June; read below for a recap of the activities.  July 31 marked the formal end of our two-year legislative session, and our members were calling, emailing, and lobbying their legislators on significant legislation right up until the end.   

To ensure that voters around the state are prepared for our early primary on Sept. 4, League members have registered voters, organized candidate forums with other Leagues and with community partners, and organized voter information.  We've launched our InformedVoterMA.org Voters' Guide full of information on primary candidates, and have been collecting videos of candidate forums on our website.  Please share these resources with your family, neighbors, and communities.
 
If you haven't had a chance to get involved with voter service activities this summer, don't worry.  There will be more opportunities to register voters, educate voters, and invite them to candidate forums this fall leading into the Nov. 6 general election.  There will be three ballot questions as well.  We encourage you to work with your local League to educate voters in your community about the questions, or to advocate as a League for the two questions where the League has a stand.

Finally, we will provide materials about our state study on the ballot question process, with consensus meetings to be held before Feb. 15.  For those members who love studies and delving into an interesting topic, this could be just the thing for you.
 
We are thrilled to share with all of you that our Franklin County unit has been approved as a new League by the LWVUS Board of Directors.  We congratulate the leadership team in Franklin County, and look forward to continuing to work with them!
 
I encourage you each to find something that meets with your interests and schedule.  Collectively we can make a difference.

In League,

 
 Mary Ann Ashton 
HAPPENING NOW 
Check Out the LWVMA Online Voters' Guide

Voters Guide
We are proud to announce that the LWVMA online voters' guide for the Sept.  4 primary election is now live at www.InformedVoterMA.org . Please share this link with your friends and on social media.
 
The LWVMA online guide allows voters across the state to access personalized ballot information and see the candidates who will be on their ballot simply by entering a street address. Voters will find information about candidates' backgrounds, as well as answers from candidates to questions posed by LWVMA.   
 
The guide contains complete information about candidates for the following offices:  U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Senate and House, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor, Treasurer, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Attorney General, Register of Deeds, Clerk of Courts, District Attorney, Governor's Council, and County Commissioner.
 
Later this fall, the information on www.InformedVoterMA.org   will be updated for the Nov. 6 general election, and all candidates will have the opportunity to update their answers.  Information on the ballot questions will also be added to the guide.
 

"We hope Massachusetts voters will use this Voters' Guide to help make informed choices as they vote on Sept. 4," said Mary Ann Ashton, LWVMA president. "We are pleased to be able to provide this information and thank the candidates for their willingness to participate in the guide."
LWVMA Ballot Question Study Materials Coming Sept. 7

The LWVMA study of the ballot question process in Massachusetts will be ready for local League and Unit consensus meetings to be held between Dec. 1 and Feb. 15 . This study incorporates the intersection of two League missions: voting and advocacy.  LWVMA has not studied the initiative and referendum process in the state and has no positions on this aspect of voting and elections.
 
Two key study documents, the Study Guide (including consensus questions) and the Study Report (background information), will be posted on the LWVMA website by Friday, Sept. 7 . Local League study committees should plan on meeting after that date to begin research and planning.
 
The study committee plans to have all materials, including appendices, a PowerPoint presentation, and other resources to help with successful consensus meetings posted by Oct. 1 .  Two webinars are planned between mid-October and mid-November, one for daytime and one in the evening. The webinars, one of which will be recorded and posted for later viewing, will cover the same material.

What Should Local Leagues and Units Do Now?
  • Form a study committee
The study committee will use the materials to become familiar with the subject and the consensus
Read more...
It's Official! Franklin County is a League!

The LWV of Franklin County has been recognized as an official local League by the board of the national LWV.  Franklin County got started in January 2017.
 
During its first year, LWVFC organized forums on fake news, how to run for office, a Legislative Coffee with their state Representatives and Senators, and the popular civics trivia night. This past spring's forum focused on local government and town committees and commissions that need volunteers. They also registered students to vote at two area high schools and have a voter registration drive scheduled in September at Greenfield Community College.
               
This summer LWVFC co-sponsored candidate forums for the 1st Franklin District State Representative and the Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester District State Senate seats, in addition to a general candidate meet and greet. Upcoming for fall is the second Civics Trivia Night, another legislative coffee to be held after the election, and organizing to participate in the LWVMA ballot question study. 
               
LWVFC thanks the Northampton Area and Amherst Leagues as well as LWVMA for their support, friendship, and guidance, and looks forward to many years of working together towards a more perfect democracy.
               
Four other units are working towards official recognition:  Framingham, Central Berkshire County, Greater Lowell and Salem. 
Changes at LWVMA Office

In September, LWVMA will move our office to 90 Congress Street (just two blocks from our current office) in Boston.  We will be renting a Post Office box as well, so there will also be a new mailing address.  

Taylor Grenga has joined the LWVMA staff as Administrative and Program Associate, and will be the voice you hear when you call the office. She graduated from Northeastern University and held internships at Planned Parenthood, Health Care for All, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, and WilmerHale. Taylor holds a B.S. in political science.  

Brynne Gorman , our Membership and Community Relations Manager, will continue to work remotely for LWVMA, on a halftime basis, from her new home in California.
ADVOCACY
League Stands on November Ballot Questions
 
Three ballot questions will be on the statewide ballot Nov. 6. The LWVMA board has determined that LWVMA will support a YES vote on two of them, and local Leagues can advocate for those two. Below are the three questions, in the order they will appear on the ballot, and our stands.
  • Question 1:  To pass a law relative to patient safety.  LWVMA takes no stand on this ballot question.
  • Question 2:  To establish a citizens commission concerning a Constitutional amendment to secure government of the people.  LWVMA supports this question and urges a YES vote.   
  • Question 3:  To retain the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  LWVMA supports and urges a YES vote on this question.
For a description of these ballot questions and the League's reasons for its stands, see the article on our website here
Recapping the Legislative Session
 
We had some major successes in the legislative session that came to a formal end July 31-automatic voter registration, criminal justice reform, women's issues, gun control and more.  And there are many bills that didn't quite make it-we will be back next session trying to get those passed.  For a recap of what happened to "our" bills during this session, see this article on our website.
ELECTIONS & VOTING
Voter Registration Help Wanted
 
MassAudubon has asked LWVMA to help its Get out the Vote efforts for this fall's elections, including providing a voter registration and information table at MassAudubon events around the state. These are great opportunities for local League members and members-at-large to volunteer.  There are three upcoming events in need of voter registration volunteers:
  • Sept. 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wachusetts Meadow, Princeton
  • Sept. 29, 1 to 4 p.m., Boston Nature Center, Boston
  • Sept. 29 and 30, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton
Please contact Judy Zaunbrecher if you or your League is interested in volunteering.
Candidates' Forums on LWVMA Website
 
If you missed a candidates' forum sponsored by a League, LWVMA is collecting links to videos of the forums and posting them on the website here .  There is also a list of upcoming candidates' forums and debates. Please share this information.  And make sure your League sends information on its forums to Taylor at LWVMA.
LWVMA Receives Filene's Grant
 
LWVMA has received a grant from the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation to support our voter engagement and education activities for the 2018 elections (MOVE 2018), including the LWVMA Online Voters' Guide.  
 
We renewed our relationship with the Filene Foundation in 2016, when they helped fund our MOVE 2016 election initiative.   We are thrilled that the Filene Foundation has again decided to support our work.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Norwood President Represents League at UN
 
Courtney Rau Rogers, president, LWV of Norwood, participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women last March as a League representative.  Here is her report:
 
"The moral challenge of the 21st century is gender inequality."
Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland
Chair, 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

The League of Women Voters has had a productive and important role within the United Nations, enjoying official consultative status to the Economic and Social Development (ECOSOC) organ of the UN since its ratification in 1944. LWVUN works to increase women's leadership and participation in democratic political processes, and to promote gender equality for all women and girls. We accomplish these priorities by working with ECOSOC on promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and its Agenda 2030. See this link for more information on those goals.

(Courtney Rau Rogers on the floor of the Economic and Social Development chamber at the UN)

After meeting former UN Observer Suzanne Stassevitch at Convention 2016, I was invited to participate in the 62 nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) as part of LWVUN's official delegation, from March 11-23, 2018. Not all of the high level ministerial discussions were open to the public, but CSW62 sponsored dozens of official side events daily, each one focusing on work different UN member states are engaged in to accomplish the sustainable development goals in their individual countries, presenting policies and programs dealing with health care, sanitation, economic development, gender based violence, and other issues directly relating to women and girls, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, I was able to participate in panels regarding human trafficking and the #metoo movement, disability services, girls' education, and a live town hall meeting with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, where he took unscripted questions from the audience. It was an exciting and hugely informative week. Read more...
Daniel Scharfman Grant Awards
 
Four local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in April and June:
  • LWV Central Berkshire Voter registration project with four high schools, including a voter registration tool kit and personalized pens/styluses for students and a button they designed specifically for teens and first-time voters.
  • LWV Westford:   An updated guide to running for town offices and information on town government.
  • LWV Winchester Covering the costs associated with the League's large banner hung to remind citizens to vote in all elections.
  • LWV Worcester Costs associated with registering voters at naturalization ceremonies.
LWVUS Convention Report
 
Massachusetts sent 33 delegates to the 53 rd LWVUS Convention in Chicago during the last steamy days of June.  Over half of our delegates were attending their first convention, a good mix of new and veteran attendees. Total convention attendance was one of the highest ever, with an overflow crowd of more than 900 delegates.  In addition to the usual business, there were two trainings, engaging and thoughtful speakers, a large assortment of workshops, caucuses, and information sessions early each morning and late each night, as well as plenty of opportunities to network with League members from around the country. On Saturday, many delegates braved the heat and used their lunch recess to join the "Families Belong Together March" protesting immigration policies in downtown Chicago, bringing real activism into the Convention proceedings. Read more...
 

Finding LWVUS How-To Information
 
In June, LWVUS launched the new League Management Site on LWV.org, replacing the old forum site. You can reach the new site by clicking League Management at the bottom of the LWV.org home page .  Any links you have from the forum site will now redirect to the League Management Site content. Staff worked with League leaders to reorganize the content into the categories of: Manage Your League, Communications, Mission Impact Tools, and Governance. Watch a short demo video (no audio) about how to navigate the new site. If you have any questions about it, please contact communications@lwv.org .
Don't forget to vote in the primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 4!
 
The Mass. League Voter is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Voter by clicking here. Please review this Update for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

133 Portland Street Boston, MA 02114 | 617-523-2999
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