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September News for League Leaders

Save the Date: League Leader Lunch Oct. 17

Mark your calendars–the annual LWVMA League Leaders Luncheon will be Saturday, Oct. 17. Only it’s not a luncheon and you don’t need to carpool! As with most events this year, this event will be online, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. We’ll miss seeing you all in person, but we’re making part of the event interactive so you can mingle and talk with each other.  
 
We will have a special guest, Charles Stewart, a political science professor at MIT and director of the MIT Election Lab, to speak about election technology. His talk will be followed by interactive breakout sessions to share ideas. League leaders were invited by email to register. 
 

Help Raise $100k for 100 Years!

Please help raise $100,000 for our 100 years by participating in this year’s LWVMA Fall Appeal and Phonathon. By having your local League make calls during the Phonathon, a portion of the total funds raised will go back to your League. Since this is a milestone year, with an aggressive fundraising goal, we will hold a Zoom training to go over the nuts and bolts of participating in Phonathon. Even if your League has not participated in recent years, this would be a great year to join the effort! Please join us for the Zoom training on Thursday, Oct. 15 by registering here.  
 
If you know your League will participate in Phonathon, please contact Taylor Grenga. Further details about this year’s Phonathon will be coming soon.  
 

Voter Education Webinar Sept. 30

LWVMA is co-sponsoring Who Represents You?, the second part of a voter education webinar series hosted by the Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP and the Lambda Kappa Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. The event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. Panelists will include Pattye Comfort, LWVMA executive director, and Vedna Lacombe-Heywood, LWVMA director. The panel will discuss where legislators stand on important issues and what you need to know before you head to the polls in November. Register here.
 

Save the Date–December Virtual Gala

LWVMA will celebrate its 100th birthday virtually on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 1 pm. We are pleased to welcome Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard, as our featured speaker.
 
Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Dr. Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light).
 
Look for registration information later this fall, and check our website here for more information.
 

Central Berkshire is a League!

The League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire County has transitioned from a unit to a full-fledged League. Congratulations! This League is centered on Pittsfield and the surrounding communities. Check out their page on our website. Central Berkshire brings the total number of local Leagues in Massachusetts to 48.
 

2020 Census

The deadline for the 2020 Census is Sept. 30 and many of our Massachusetts communities continue to have low response rates. You can help by participating in phone banks sponsored by MassCounts. Phone banks will be held on Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesdays 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursday 5 to 7 p.m. Sign up here.  
 

VOTE411 is Now Updated!

Find Massachusetts’ candidate and election information for the Nov. 3 general election at VOTE411.org, the League’s national online voters’ guide. The guide has been updated since the Sept. 1 primary. VOTE411 covers all candidate races from U.S. Congress through state legislator and contested county races. Information on the two state ballot questions is also included. 
 
We worked diligently to encourage candidates to respond to the questionnaire. If you find that any candidate in your district has not responded, please reach out and encourage them to complete the questionnaire; it is not too late. Contact Taylor Grenga for a questionnaire link that can be forwarded to a particular candidate.
 
Please help promote VOTE411.org. Find the VOTE411 widget and installation instructions for your League webpage here. LWVUS is offering this VOTE411 QR code to promote VOTE411. LWVUS has partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters to launch a voter education campaign featuring public service announcements (PSAs) about voting and VOTE411. This campaign will air on TV and radio stations nationwide from August through Election Day. Leagues can also share the NAB video PSA with local partners and use it on social media. LWVUS also has English and Spanish VOTE411 videos.
 

Volunteer for Election Protection Work

Are you concerned about trouble on Election Day? LWVMA is partnering again this year with Lawyers for Civil Rights to make sure the election runs smoothly and fairly. There are three options for volunteering this year:  
  • Statewide hotline: Troubleshoot election-day issues from your home
  • Mobile field program: Independently observe multiple polling locations for outdoor violations
  • Social media and news monitoring: Monitor news and social media platforms to report election-day issues
League members are always an important part of the election protection volunteer corps. Help support voters in real time. Click here to volunteer.
 
Interested in volunteering as a poll monitor? The ACLU of Massachusetts (our partner in the Election Protection Coalition) is recruiting. Sign up here for a Sept. 26 training session.
 

Publicize Ballot Dropbox Locations

The new elections law allows town clerks and city election officials to install secure dropboxes where voters can deposit their mail ballots rather than relying on the Post Office. Local Leagues can contact town clerks to find out where those dropboxes will be, and to encourage them to install dropboxes if they have not planned to do so. Then publicize the location and availability of those dropboxes on your website and social media and in any election work you do. Post a photo of the dropbox and a link to a map showing the location. Locations can be found from town clerks’ offices on the Secretary of State website.  
 

Tips for Holding Virtual Candidate Forums

The voter engagement committee hosted a Zoom meeting to explain the finer points of how to hold a virtual (Zoom) candidate forum, with presenters Karen Price and Jo-Ann Berry. The 90-minute recording and three-part PowerPoint presentation for this informative event are available at the following links:  
 
On the Google drive here, find information on countdown clocks; generic task spreadsheet; sample rundown spreadsheet; sample communications with candidates; sample press announcement, flyers; sample opening/closing slides; generic script; and generic Zoom action list.
 
 

Election Law Resources

The new elections law will make it easier for citizens to vote by mail this year. It also provides for a longer in-person early voting period to cut down on the lines at the polls on Election Day. Here are some resources you can use to put information on this year’s elections on your website:
LWVMA Stands on 2020 Ballot Questions
The LWVMA Board voted on stands on the two statewide ballot questions that will appear on the November ballot.
  • Ballot Question 1: Right to Repair Law. LWVMA takes no stand on this question.
  • Ballot Question 2: Ranked Choice Voting Initiative. LWVMA supports this initiative and urges a YES vote.
You can read the full summary of LWVMA’s stands on these ballot questions, find 2020 ballot question resources, and ballot question guidelines for local Leagues here. Information is also available in the red book from the Secretary of State.  
 
LWVMA encourages local Leagues to educate voters and advocate for ranked choice voting.
 

LWVMA Voter Email Hotline

LWVMA’s email hotline is ready to answer any questions League members have about voting options this fall. Please send questions to votehelp2020@lwvma.org and we promise to get you an answer promptly!
 

Happy Vote Early Day!

The first-ever Vote Early Day is Saturday, Oct 24. It is a national effort to make sure voters are aware of their vote-early options. Local Leagues can promote this “holiday” and encourage voters to learn about their voting options. In Massachusetts, the in-person early voting period is Oct. 17-30, with times available on both weekends. Hours and locations will be posted at www.MassEarlyVote.com.  Read about Vote Early Day and sign up your League. 
 

LWVUS Election Messaging Calendar

The countdown to election day continues. LWVUS has created its 2020 Election Messaging Calendar to highlight the key dates they will be sending out special and critical messages. 
 

Wanted: Poll Workers

Many cities and towns are in critical need of poll workers, especially those who are bilingual. The new elections law allows municipalities to hire poll workers regardless of where they live, their voter registration status, or political party affiliation.
 
Please encourage members to contact town clerks/local election officials about their needs, especially in larger cities. Check the Secretary of State’s website to see where poll workers are needed. Keep in mind that young people, including college students, are prime candidates to work the polls given their more flexible schedules this fall.
 
From LWVUS: We’re proud to announce a new partnership with Power the Polls, a multi-faceted, multi-organizational effort to encourage Americans to help fill the poll worker gap in time for November. Please share this link with your networks, League volunteers, and on social media to encourage poll worker recruitment. 
 

Racism and Redistricting

The League of Women Voters of the United States, along with LWVs of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, will host a discussion Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. on the role systemic racism plays in silencing voters of color and how it has shaped one of the most important processes for ensuring voters’ voices are heard. Community leaders will discuss the work being done to end some of the most egregious racial gerrymandering in the country—and what is at stake in this year’s election. This is a live event that will broadcast on the LWVUS Facebook page. Share the event with your networks! 
 

Direct Voter Contact Training

Contacting voters directly is the most effective way to get out the vote, but direct voter contact methods look different depending on your community. Join the LWVUS Organizing Team on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 3 p.m., as we outline how to build your direct voter contact muscle. Register today
 

LWVUS Advocacy and Litigation

Check here for a list of future and past webinars from the LWVUS Advocacy and Litigation team. Webinars cover everything from setting Legislative priorities, putting together action alerts, policy briefings on legislative issues, and preparing for your next legislative session. Currently, webinars are scheduled through January 2021.
 

A More Inclusive Look at the Suffrage Movement

As we continue to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the League and the passage of the 19th Amendment, we encourage everyone to do so in a way that acknowledges all of those involved. 
 
Two articles of interest that speak of the history of Jewish women in the movement are: Jewish Suffragists, White Dresses, and Yellow Roses and A Vote For Food as the Great Connector. Scharfman Grant Deadlines. The deadlines for local Leagues to apply for Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education grants this League year are: Oct. 19, Jan. 11, April 19 and June 14. Find information on the grants and an application here.
 

Scharfman Grant Deadlines

The deadlines for local Leagues to apply for Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education grants this League year are: Oct. 19, Jan. 11, April 19 and June 14. Find information on the grants and an application here.
 

Bylaws Update Needed

At the 2020 national Convention, four amendments to the LWVUS bylaws were adopted by the delegates. As a reminder, the first three articles of bylaws at all levels of the organization need to be consistent. Amendments to those sections will need to be incorporated into your local League bylaws as soon as possible. An LWVUS webinar will answer your questions and provide more information, and the date and time will be announced in late September. 
 
Send Your Voter Registration Photos
Did your League participate in National Voter Registration Day Sept. 22? Please send photos of your activity to Brynne Gorman to post on our social media sites.
 

If You Want to Act at the Federal Level

LWVUS offers this reminder: Leagues wishing to take action at the federal level on legislation or litigation must consult with LWVUS. This includes any effort aimed at influencing a decision on a federal issue, such as communicating with an elected or appointed official, joining a coalition, taking part in a press conference or rally, or writing a letter-to-the-editor. For League convenience and to ensure a prompt reply, LWVUS has an online form that goes to the advocacy team at LWVUS. Please use the federal action request form when contemplating federal level actions. You can find the form on our site.