Dear League Leaders:
This letter contains information and suggestions about navigating during the coronavirus pandemic. Please feel free to reach out to us, the Voter Engagement Committee of LWVMA, with comments and suggestions. We will be happy to share ideas and thoughts on how local Leagues are adapting to this new environment so everyone can make the most of this election year despite the constraints.
In this COVID-19 environment, the LWVMA Voter Engagement Committee urges all local Leagues to read the guidance provided by the National League. This link offers helpful suggestions on how to best serve our members and the public during these difficult times.
Check out this link for suggestions about voter registration efforts during the pandemic.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE
We all need to be creative during this election year. Local Leagues can create flyers or public service announcements and ask their local election officials to mail them to citizens in towns and cities. Leagues can post a flyer on their websites or on social media. Leagues might ask their local election officials to send out the flyer via email blast or post on town/city websites. Some may want to arrange for public access cable to post the flyer for viewing on their channels. Here is an example of a flyer or PSA posting you may want to use; feel free to customize.
Since face to face candidate forums are out of the question at least through June, don’t hesitate to consider using Zoom conferencing to conduct a forum or to interview individual candidates. The same LWV rules would apply whether your forum is virtual or in person—opening statement, introductions, timer, moderator, unbiased questions, etc. The only differences should be that there is no live audience and no live questions asked by attendees during the recording. One handy feature is the Zoom Waiting Room which allows the meeting host to control when participants join the meeting (eliminates the risk of “Zoom bombing”). Your program(s) can be recorded, downloaded to your computer, and then uploaded to your Facebook page or League website. You might also ask your local public access cable company to run the finished product.
Any member of your League can sign up for a Zoom account. The basic account is free but allows only 40 minutes of interaction during any one meeting. The paid account ($15 per month) allows for up to 24 hours of interaction per meeting. However, you should know that LWVMA has a Zoom account available for use by any local League that does not need or want to set up their own. There is no charge to use the LWVMA Zoom account. We have information available for local Leagues who are interested in pursuing this option. If you would like written instructions concerning set up, contact one of the V.E. committee members. To schedule use of the LWVMA Zoom account or to walk through recording and posting a recording, please contact Brynne Gorman at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Moderator training is being planned as so many have requested new or updated exercises. We will be using Zoom for this and are working out how best to provide and support skill development in this election year. Stay tuned for more info.
LWVMA will be using VOTE411 to create a Voter Guide for the fall 2020 primary and general elections. This guide will cover all Massachusetts Congressional and state legislative elections (as well as Governor’s Council and ballot questions). VOTE411 offers complete election information (voter registration, deadlines, locations, etc.), and is sponsored by LWVUS. Your local League could also consider creating a Voter Guide for this spring’s municipal elections, but this would require some expense and effort by your local League. If you would like to learn more about what might be involved, contact Pattye Comfort at email@example.com for more information on pricing and set up, or to explore funding possibilities if you need financial help. The next Scharfman Grant deadline is April 14th. Take advantage!
STAY CONNECTED TO LOCAL ELECTION OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Let your local election officials and community organizations know what your League is doing and ask if you can help in any way. Feel free to offer suggestions. Have they considered putting a lock box outside City/Town Hall to receive dropped off absentee or early voting ballots? Would your partners include voter registration or GOTV (or your flyer) in their newsletters or online email blasts? LWVUS provides some very useful suggestions that our election officials can take to safeguard elections this year.
Please let us know how your local League is managing in this changed world and we will share ideas and suggestions in future communications.
LWVMA Voter Engagement Committee:
Tanya Roy firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Bona email@example.com
Elizabeth Foster-Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org