CALENDAR
Friday, Jan. 26
LWVMA/LESF Board Meeting, Framingham Main Public Library, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  
Wednesday, Jan. 31
Automatic Voter Registration Lobby Day, Massachusetts State House, Room 428, from 9:30 a.m. until noon
Wednesday, Jan. 31
Safe Communities Day of Action 
Thursday, Feb. 1
LWVMA Student Video Contest Kick-Off, "Get in the Game and Vote!"
Thursday, Feb. 15
Moderator Training, Acton TV, 16 Craig Rd., Acton, 7:00 p.m.
From Our President

Dear League Members,                

This January marks the anniversary of the women's marches around the country, and for many of you, when you joined the League. While many of us marched again this January, all of us have been active in the civic engagement that has always characterized the League.

Now is the time to act. We have particularly focused on four areas for legislative advocacy this year: automatic voter registration, safe communities, comprehensive criminal justice reform, and carbon pricing/energy bills. Criminal justice reform is with a conference committee to combine the House and Senate versions, but your help is urgently needed to get bills related to the other three priorities out of joint committees. Join us on January 31 at the State House to lobby for automatic voter registration, and call your legislators to request action on immigration and climate change legislation. Consider becoming a Legislative Envoy to keep your local members informed about the progress of bills and the positions of your legislators.

Be Vigilant. Now more than ever it is vital that we all pay attention. The League will always protect the rights of voters, ensure all eligible voters are able to participate, and provide voters with accurate information about who and what is on their ballots. Our League Candidate Forums provide a service to our communities; consider joining us for training on how to be a moderator. For those of us with spring elections in our towns, urge new people to run for elected office, and encourage a robust turnout for these local elections, where every vote can make a difference.

Educate yourself. League members pride themselves on being smart, savvy consumers of news, and taking the time to learn about issues. Watch for more information about our spring conference (save the date for Saturday, April 28), where we'll bring together League members and members of our communities eager to learn more about the issues facing all of us today, and the role that women especially can play in defending and strengthening our democracy.

All of us on the LWVMA Board are here to help you engage and be a part of our work. Thank you for everything you each do!


In League,

 
 Mary Ann Ashton 
HAPPENING NOW 
Lights! Camera! LWVMA Student Video Contest!

For its fifth annual student video contest, LWVMA invites high school students to create 30-second public service announcements to motivate voters for Massachusetts' Fall 2018 elections.              

The contest,  Get In the Game and Vote, is open to all high school students in Massachusetts.  Top winners will be awarded $500, $250, and $100 prizes, and their videos will be publicized statewide.                 

Entries must be submitted online from February 1 through March 31 at  www.lwvma.org. Judging will take place in April, and winners will be announced in May. Official rules and further details are available at  www.lwvma.org.

We need League members to publicize the video contest at high schools in their area. A toolkit and flyer to download are available on our website here. Emails about the contest will be sent to Massachusetts high schools, but may not reach the people you know. Please email personal contacts (high school administrators, educators, students) directly using the suggested email.                 

And if you are interested in helping to judge the videos, contact LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler.
Save the Date:  LWVMA Spring Conference April 28

Concerned about the state of our democracy? Want to learn from experts about steps we can all take to strengthen our democratic institutions and processes?
 
LWVMA is planning a conference dealing with the issues challenging our democracy on Saturday, April 28; we will have details on time and location shortly. This event is a new approach to the state League's spring programming that will substitute a conference on contemporary issues, open to both League members and the public, for the Council program usually held in the year between state conventions. Please plan to join us!
ADVOCACY
Time to Act on AVR, Safe Communities, Climate Change

We need your help! Plan to take action on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to support Automatic Voter Registration and the Safe Communities Act.

Join LWVMA and the other members of the Election Modernization Coalition for a lobby day on Automatic Voter Registration at the State House Wednesday, Jan. 31, 9:30 a.m. to noon. We will be working hard to get the Automatic Voter Registration bill out of the Joint Committee on Election Laws and to the floor of the House for a vote.

Sign up here to participate in the AVR lobby day.
  

Registration and training will take place in Room 428 in the State House, 24 Beacon St., Boston.

Take action to support the Safe Communities Act, which protects the civil rights of all state residents regardless of immigration status. Watch for an action alert on the Safe Communities Day of Action, telephoning legislators on Jan. 31.

And you can still contact your Senator and Representative as well in support of energy and climate change bills. Click
here for information on these bills and the need to have them reported out of joint committee now.
Could You be a Legislative Envoy?

LWVMA is creating a corps of Legislative Envoys to link local Leagues with our legislative efforts at the State House and make those efforts more effective. We are looking for one or two interested members in each local League to become envoys.
 
Learn more about the program here . If you are interested or have further questions, contact Colleen Kirby, the program's administrator.

We are taking steps to implement the Legislative Envoy program now, and will be in touch with those who have already signed up soon.
ELECTIONS & VOTING
Moderator Training Available 
 
Moderator training will be conducted Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m.  The training session will be held at Acton TV, 16 Craig Road, Acton, MA.  Jo-Ann Berry and Stefani Traina, veteran League moderators, will lead this training.  Both new and experienced moderators are encouraged to attend.  

The session will be videotaped so the training can be rolled out across the state.  Voter Service will be looking for local trainers and mentors to assist in this roll out.

You can register for this training here.

If you are unable to attend this session, but are interested in participating in a regional training at another location, please contact LWVMA Voter Service Chairs  Judy Zaunbrecher or  Kris Eastman.
LWVMA Urges Early Voting for Primary Election
 
LWVMA urged the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the legislature to expand early voting to all statewide elections, including primaries. In comments submitted in response to the Secretary's request for input on potential dates for the September 2018 state primary election, the League noted that the conflicts between potential primary dates and the Jewish holidays could be resolved by offering early voting.

The Secretary selected Sept. 4, the day after Labor Day, for the primary election, and indicated he will file a bill in the legislature to expand early voting to that election. See the LWVMA statement here. And take a look at some of the press coverage of our efforts from the State House News service here, and AP here.
LWVMA to Join Challenge on Voter Registration Deadline
 
Next month, LWVMA will join a challenge to Massachusetts' 20-day voter registration deadline by signing on to an amicus (friend of the court) brief in Chelsea Collaborative v. Galvin, which is on appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

Chelsea Collaborative v. Galvin
 was filed in Suffolk Superior Court by the American Civil Liberties Union before the November 2016 election to challenge the Commonwealth's requirement that eligible Massachusetts voters register 20 days before an election. The suit was filed on behalf of the Chelsea Collaborative, MassVOTE, several individual registered voters and a class of similarly-situated individuals. In 2017, the Suffolk Superior Court agreed that the arbitrary 20-day voter registration cutoff law is unconstitutional and disenfranchises thousands of potential voters throughout the Commonwealth every election. 
 
An appeal of that decision by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin will be heard by the SJC later this spring.  LWVMA will join an amicus brief along with several other organizations in support of the trial court's decision; the brief will be filed with the SJC on Tuesday, Feb. 20, and will be available on the LWVMA website after that date.
League Leads National Voter Registration Day Effort
 
The organization running the National Voter Registration Day reported the results of the Sept. 26 effort. "We tallied all the figures, and the final numbers just blew us away! Thanks to the involvement of 9,631 volunteers from 2,851 partners across the country, we collectively gathered 124,290 new or updated voter registrations. Both of these numbers far exceeded our original goals of 2,000 partners and 75,000 registrations."

And once again, the League led that effort. LWVUS reported that 406 local Leagues registered 16,686 voters and generated 233 news stories.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
New LWVMA Board Member
 
Cindy Ku, a member of the Sudbury League, has joined the LWVMA board and the Lotte E. Scharfman board of trustees and will serve as secretary of both.

Aside from a five-year hiatus for medical school and internship, Cindy has lived in the Greater Boston area since 1998. She is particularly interested in promoting civic engagement at the local and state level and civic education for students. Cindy works as a full-time academic anesthesiologist in Boston, and she is active in resident physician training at the local and national level as well as in graduate medical education research. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys intricate and intense Lego building with her spouse and sons, ages 5 and 7.  
View Climate and Energy Solutions Forums 
 
The LWVMA Steering Committee for Environmental Action and Advocacy, in collaboration with local Leagues, successfully completed five regional forums in the 2017 LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series.

All five forums are available on the LWVMA website. The Series page includes information on all five and links to the presentations.
  • May 2, Worcester: "On the Path to 100% Renewable Energy"
  • Sept. 15, Boston: "Extreme Events and Climate Change: What We Know and What We Can Do"
  • Oct. 4, Winchester: "The Health Benefits of Renewable Energy Choices: A Role for Carbon Pricing"
  • Oct. 19, Lexington: "Greening the Grid: Preparing for Our Clean Energy Future"
  • Nov. 4, Falmouth: "Extreme Events and Climate Change Boston Area and Cape Cod: What We Know and What We Can Do"
Financial support for this series was provided by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. For a list of organizations partnering the Climate and Energy Solutions Series, click here .
Hingham LWV Launches Well Informed Voter Calendar
 
By Eileen McIntyre

The League of Women Voters of Hingham recently launched a "Well Informed Voter" calendar, a month-by-month guide to events and resources that can help citizens prepare for decisions at the local, state and national level through 2018.

The calendar is online with embedded links to helpful resources, and is also available as a free download from the recently-updated LWV Hingham website. Read more...
LWVUS Convention Coming in June
 
The national League hopes to see you in Chicago for Convention 2018 June 28-July 1. To help you plan, LWVUS has updated its website. Convention registration will open in February. Recent updates include:
 
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
  lwvma@lwvma.org | www.lwvma.org
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