CALENDAR
Wednesday, June 24 LWVUS Convention Climate Emergency Caucus by videoconference, 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 25 - Sunday, June 28 LWVUS 54th National Convention by videoconference
Tuesday, September 1 Massachusetts State Primary
Tuesday, September 22 National Voter Registration Day
Tuesday, November 3 Election Day
HAPPENING NOW
Welcome to Our New Board!
 
Council was held by Zoom on June 13.  During the business meeting, the membership elected officers, LWVMA Board members, and LWVMA Nominating Committee members. Over 150 members attended Council and 33 Leagues were represented. The following Board Officers were elected:
  • Elizabeth Foster-Nolan,  Member at Large, Co-President
  • Amy Smith, Topsfield-Middleton-Boxford, second Vice President
  • Tanya Roy, Wellesley, Treasurer
  • Courtney Rau Rogers, Norwood, Secretary
Directors for a two-year term:
  • Marie Gauthier, Franklin County
  • Vedna Lacombe-Heywood, Plymouth Area
  • Susan Millinger, Amherst
  • Brenda Safford, Worcester Area
Directors for a one-year term:
  • Jo-Ann Berry, Acton Area
  • Karen Callanan, Member at Large
  • Susan Flicop, Wayland
Nominating Committee:
  • Sharon McCarthy, chair, Harvard
  • Sharyn Roberts, Newton
We salute our departing officers and board members and thank them for their hard work: Mary Ann Ashton, co-president; Andrea Kozinetz, treasurer; Lee Bona, second vice-president; and directors Kate Boland and Nancy Brumback.
 
Pattye Comfort, LWVMA Executive Director, provided an update on how she and the staff have been working remotely since mid-March. Pattye and Andrea Kozinetz gave a FY2020 financial overview.
 
Ricardo Ramirez of the Brennan Center presented an overview of the upcoming elections, what should be done to ensure a free and fair elections during the pandemic, and what the challenges are. A lively Q&A session rounded out the Council.

Thanks to all the local Leagues who donated to LWVMA at Council: Acton Area, Amherst, Concord/Carlisle. Harvard, Needham, Newton, Northampton Area, Plymouth Area, Topsfield/Boxford/Middleton, Wayland, and Wellesley.  
Preparing for the LWVUS Convention
 
LWV's national Convention is June 25-27 and will be held virtually. View the schedule here. LWVMA will hold a Zoom meeting before convention to discuss the Convention, the role of the delegates, review the guidance LWVMA Board has given its delegates, and answer your questions. If you have registered as a delegate, we will send you a meeting notice and Zoom link as soon as we receive the delegate list from LWVUS.

Climate Emergency Caucus: You can listen in on the convention's "Climate Emergency - Time for All Hands on Deck," Wednesday, June 24, 5 p.m.  LWVMA is a co-sponsor. Register here

The caucus will discuss where we are and how Leagues across the country can help with a focus on: 
  • Climate action ideas, strategies and resources that Leagues are using successfully in their communities and their states.
  • Ways to use the nonpartisan voice of the League to bridge politics in encouraging climate action.
  • Messages that will help citizens understand and want to engage in addressing the climate emergency. 
The LWVUS Convention includes many caucuses/information sessions that one can register for without registering for convention. See the whole list of caucuses at the LWV convention website .

Latest LWVUS Convention News:  If you still have questions about how virtual Convention will work, check out the Intro to Convention webinar . Additional resources about Convention can be found on the main convention page . Hosting Convention virtually is a reminder of the impact that the coronavirus outbreak is having on the way we work. LWVUS encourages you to continue to use the COVID (Coronavirus) Guidance for Leagues resource on the League Management Site . It is continually updated.
New LWVMA Communications Policy
 
The LWV Massachusetts Board approved a Communications Policy for External Online Communications. This policy provides guidance to staff and League members authorized to post to social media on behalf of the LWVMA, and covers our overall policy and approach to communication tools we use to communicate with members, donors, partners and the general public. 
 
Additionally, we will use this policy to advise Board members and others closely associated with LWVMA to ensure their own communications respect the League's non-partisanship, are consistent with League positions and policies, respect copyright, and add value to civil discourse. As with any of our LWVMA policies, this policy could be used as a template for local Leagues which wish to develop their own communications policy.
ELECTIONS & VOTING
Help with Questions for VOTE411

LWVMA is gearing up to produce the online Voter Guide for the Sept. 1 primary election using the VOTE411 platform. The Voter Guide will contain information on all candidates running for state and county offices, including candidate profiles and Q&A. We need volunteers to help formulate questions for candidates to be published in the guide. If interested, contact  Tanya Roy  or email questions directly to her. The questions need to be finalized by the end of June.
Candidates for Sept. 1 Primary

The candidates who will be running in the Sept. 1 state primary election are posted on the Secretary of State's website here. All state legislators, both Senators and Representatives, must run for re-election in November, and frequently if they have a challenger it will be during the primary election.  You can check that list to see if there will be any contested races for state legislators in your districts. Many district-level races are decided in this election instead of in November because only one party has candidates vying for the position. Candidate forums for any contested primary races should be scheduled in July or early August, since early voting for the Sept. 1 primary will be in late August. 
Census Update

Massachusetts' self-response rate is currently 63%, but there are significant response rate differences around the state and even within cities and towns.  In general, the self-response continues to lag in western Massachusetts, the Cape and Islands, Boston, and gateway cities. The MassCount virtual phone banks continue to be held on Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays 5 to 7 p.m., Thursdays 5 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 1 to 3 p.m. New Census tracts around the state have been added to the call list.  Register here.

June 15-21 is Census Week of Action. You can access the Census Week of Action toolkit here. Promote the Census in your towns and neighboring communities. Be sure to check your local response rate to make sure there are no low response pockets.

The Census Bureau has resumed field operations. In early August, Census enumerators will start canvassing households which have not responded.  Please help educate all households on the ease of self-responding online, by phone, or by mailing in the form. Households can access the Census form online at my2020Census.gov or by phone at the toll-free language lines. Click here for more.
National Voter Registration Day Sept. 22

Voter registration is more important than ever this year, and LWVUS announces that the League will once again be a premiere partner for National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, Sept. 22.
 
Since 2012, hundreds of Leagues have participated in this annual celebration of voter registration, hosting thousands of voter registration events and promoting online registration options on VOTE411. Sign up your League now to be a part of NVRD 2020! A big voter registration push relatively early in the cycle is crucial to ensuring that all Americans have an opportunity to take advantage of expanded options to vote in a safe way. And it's also critical to helping election officials across the country in their efforts to offer these options to all eligible voters.
Hosting Candidate Forums Virtually

Take a look at some LWVMA suggestions on holding candidate forums for this fall's elections using a videoconference platform.
 
LWVUS notes that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a major impact on League-hosted events, including candidate and issue debates and forums. Whether debates/forums are in-person or online, the same debate guidance is applicable:  Guidelines for State and Local League Debates Including Empty Chair Debates. And as with any debate, make sure your League team, any co-hosting partners, and candidates all agree on clear debate format and rules of engagement ( see our FAQs), and be sure you're following any applicable federal, state, and local rules. We have curated a list of best practices and some guidance on platforms.
ADVOCACY
Racial Justice Initiatives

LWVMA issued a strong statement on racial justice June 1. In keeping with that commitment, we are supporting efforts in the legislature to pass bills, including supporting four bills from the Black and Latino legislative caucus, as detailed in this action alert. We are also expecting an omnibus bill dealing with racial justice issues to be filed soon by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, who has indicated he hopes to get the legislation to the Governor by July 31. Governor Baker has said he will file a bill soon to put in place a system to certify or license police. LWVMA will be taking up both of those bills when they are filed.
Election Law Update

On June 16, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed election legislation allowing every voter who wishes to vote by mail to do so. The Senate action on this bill followed the House's near unanimous approval (155-1) of the bill on June 5. The key provisions of the legislation include: requiring mail ballot applications to be sent to every registered voter, postage pre-paid, for both the Sept. 1 and Nov. 3 elections, creating an online portal for mail ballot applications, expanding early voting, mandating changes for safer in-person voting, and shortening the voter registration deadline to 10 days before the election. See press release here.

Before the bill (now numbered S.2764) can be sent to the Governor for his signature, it may be subject to a formal conference committee to iron out several differences between the versions approved by the House and the Senate. Please check LWVMA's home page and social media platforms for real time updates.
THE TO-DO LIST
Put Your League in the Spotlight

Help LWVMA celebrate your local League's accomplishments and successes! Each week, LWVMA features a "Local League Spotlight" on its  Facebook page . Please email Amy Smith for more information and to share your League's news.
Send LWVMA Your New Board Information

As your League elects new Board leadership, please fill out this form with the names, positions, and contact information of your Board members and send it to the LWVMA office so your League leaders receive League management information, reminders, and have access to leader tools.
 
Additionally, please make sure your local League roster manger updates the leadership positions in the  LWVUS database so contact information is correct on the LWVUS website. If you have any questions, email Brynne Gorman.
Add the Massachusetts Online Voter Registration Link to Your Website

Consider adding a link to the Secretary of State's online voter registration system on your League's website and publicizing it on your social media outlets. See the link on the LWVMA  home page . Massachusetts residents can register or preregister, update their party or address, or register for the first time. 
 
Local League webmasters can install a graphic and have it link to the online voter registration system.  Here  is the link to download the graphic, and then make sure that the graphic links to www.registertovotema.com. If you have questions, contact  Brynne Gorman
It's Election Season. Check Your Non-Partisan Policy

With the election season looming, it's a good time to review your non-partisan policy with your board or steering committee and with your members via your League's bulletin. The League encourages its members to run for office and participate fully in the political process. Your League's non-partisan policy will define what roles and activities related to campaigns are permissible for board and steering committee members. In general, there are no restrictions on members taking partisan positions as individuals; however, most Leagues do have restrictions on what some board and steering committee members can do. 
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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