Spring 2020 Update
Message from the Executive Director
As we stay at home to defeat COVID-19, LWVMA has been working diligently with our coalition partners on emergency reforms to our election laws to ensure that casting a ballot in the September primary and November general elections is safe and accessible to all voters.  We have also been busy on several other initiatives which are detailed in this newsletter. As we all navigate our way through this pandemic, I thank you for supporting our efforts to continue to Make Democracy Work! The work we are doing together has never been more important.

Stay safe and be well,

Pattye Comfort

Revisions to Election Practices due to COVID-19 
Senator Lovely, Speaker DeLeo, and Representative Haddad with LWVMA co-presidents Mary Ann Ashton and Judy Zaunbrecher at the LWVMA Day of Action
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, LWVMA, along with our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition were hard at work advocating for passage of the Election Day Registration (EDR) legislation that was making its way through the Massachusetts legislature. This bill, if passed, would allow citizens to register or update their registration on Election Day and then vote. On February 6, LWVMA marked the 100 th anniversary of the founding of the League with an EDR "Day of Action" at the State House. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and assistant Senate majority leader Joan Lovely saluted the League.  "In these challenging political times, organizations like the League of Women Voters are crucial to maintaining democracy and keeping elections fair," said DeLeo.  Rep. Patricia Haddad, speaker pro tempore, honored the League with a joint resolution from the House and Senate, recalling League members in her childhood "were the first time I realized women could organize and get things done."

For the past month, LWVMA has shifted its focus from EDR and has been concentrating on how to safeguard our fall elections. This week, along with our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition, we are asking the legislature to send all registered voters a ballot for the November general election. A bill, HD.5075
, filed Tuesday, May 5, calls for ballots to be mailed to all voters, with prepaid return postage, at least 19 days before the Nov. 3 election. Ballots will be returned to city or town election offices, which would also install secure drop boxes where voters could deposit ballots. In-person voting will still be an option, and the bill requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to adopt regulations to safeguard the health of voters and election workers at the polls. While we hope the COVID-19 virus will have abated by fall, we need to plan to conduct our elections as if it will not. That particularly means greatly expanded vote by mail outreach while continuing to offer in-person voting that is safe for voters and poll workers. 
Census 2020
Since the decennial census is so vitally important for Massachusetts and every other state - it determines the number of US House of Representatives seats, it defines congressional and state legislative districts, school districts, and voting precincts, it determines how $675 billion of federal funding will be spent on such things as Medicaid, SNAP, Highway Planning, the National School Lunch Program, Special Education grants - LWVMA has been an active member of the MassCounts Coalition for the past year, planning and preparing for "getting out the count" in Massachusetts. Although the pandemic has required a certain amount of pivoting, the count continues and LWVMA will continue to be participating in efforts to ensure that the "hard to count" residents of Massachusetts are included in the final census results.  Click here to see real-time results of your town or city's participation rate.
Celebrating LWVMA's 100th Birthday
March 26, 1930 League luncheon in celebration of tenth anniversary of woman suffrage.
This year marks the 100 th Anniversary of the founding of LWVMA in May 1920, three months after the national League was founded. As you may know, the League of Women Voters was formed once the suffrage movement had secured the vote for women in 1920. The original purpose of the League was to ensure that there was a public education campaign on this newly-won right to vote for women. 100 years later, the League continues its mission to empower voters and Make Democracy Work !

To celebrate, we are hosting a series of webinars as well as a gala brunch. All of these events are open to the public, and I invite you to join us! Here are the details:

Gala Brunch Sunday, December 13, 2020 at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Norwood, MA at 1:00 p.m. We are pleased to welcome Danielle Allen as our featured speaker. Dr. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. She is widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America. Please find more information about Dr. Allen  here . Further details about the event can be found here.

Webinar Series:
  • Raising Civic Engagement Among Younger People: Nancy Thomas, Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, Tufts University Thursday, May 21, 4 p.m. Register here.
  • After Suffrage: The Campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920 - 2020: Barbara Berenson is the author of Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: Revolutionary Reformers (2018). She currently teaches at Harvard Law School and Tufts University.  Tuesday, June 2, 7 p.m. Register here.