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September News for Members

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.
 

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.

Election Guide on LWVMA Website 

Be sure to check out the Election Resource Guide on the LWVMA website using the Election 2020 tab to read up on voting changes, election 2020 timeline (in English and Spanish), and view recordings of LWVMA-sponsored candidate forums.
 
Also on LWVMA website is the Voter Service Toolkit, which is filled with useful information and tips.
 
Do you have questions about voting under the new election law or anything else elections-related? LWVMA has created a voter email “hotline” to answer any questions you may have about voting options this fall. Please send questions to votehelp2020@lwvma.org and you will receive an answer promptly!
 
Share these 5 helpful website addresses for voting information provided by the MA Secretary of the Commonwealth. Check them regularly for polling places and dropbox locations since this information can change based on local election officials’ decisions:

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. 

What’s Happening in Racial Justice? Take Action NOW!

LWVUS President, Dr. Deborah Turner, in an Aug. 27 League Update to members states, “The League stands with Jacob Blake and we stand with Kenosha, Wisconsin. We strongly oppose the systemic racism that allows violence like this to occur repeatedly. The League remains an ally to those leading the work for social justice, and we encourage all Leagues to advocate for Black lives and nonviolent protest”.
 
In August, LWVMA signed on in support of BeaconBLOC , a “coalition of Black legislative staffers on Beacon Hill calling on House and Senate leadership to fulfill their promise to address racism in Massachusetts, starting with the State House.”  
 
Different versions of a policing bill passed the Massachusetts Senate and House (H.4860/S.2800, An Act relative to justice, equity and accountability in law enforcement in the Commonwealth) and have gone to conference committee, with the work of the conference committee continuing in closed session. Police unions oppose many provisions of the bills. Conference committee will issue a final bill after Labor Day. Please contact your representative about their vote on the House policing bill: if they voted YES, thank them; if they voted NO talk to them. The roll call vote is here.

LWVMA Resources for 2020 Ballot Questions

Two ballot questions will be on the statewide ballot Nov. 3. LWVMA has taken a stand on Question 2, Ranked Choice Voting. The questions, summaries, what your vote will do, statements of fiscal consequences, arguments in favor and against, and the full text of the measures are in the official guide to the 2020 ballot questions, the “Information for Voters” red booklet, which will be distributed to the households of all registered voters in September. It is also posted on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, here
 
See LWVMA’s reasons for its stands on these ballot questions. See Guidelines on conducting League forums on the ballot questions. 
 

Want to Work on Ranked Choice Voting?

Because the State League supports Ranked Choice Voting, we can advocate for passage of ballot question 2. The YES ON 2 ballot question campaign for ranked choice voting is seeking volunteers. If you would like to help with anything from phone banks to yard signs to letters to the editor, here is a volunteer form.  
 
If you want to do more and can spend 10+ hours per week on passing this historic electoral reform, please select “join volunteer leadership team” on the form. More voters will be receiving their ballots earlier than ever before and now is the time to focus on persuading them to vote YES ON 2. A member of the organizing team will be in touch and get you started if you volunteer as a team leader.
 

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.  

Contact Your Legislators to Support Economic Bills in Conference

Please communicate with your own legislators your support for affordable housing in the Economic Development bills. H.4887 and S.2842 cover several topics including critical provisions for expansion of low-income subsidized housing as well as zoning changes that should encourage building more housing for the “missing middle” range of homes. Read the LWVMA’s housing letter here.

 

Contact Your Legislators to Support the ROE Act

The legislature extended the deadline to move the ROE Act expanding abortion access forward. Here in Massachusetts, barriers still exist: young people seeking abortion are forced to go to court to plead their case to a judge, and families who receive a lethal fetal diagnosis later in pregnancy must travel across the country for abortion care. See League testimony here. Contact your legislators and ask them to support the ROE Act (S.1209/H.3320). 

 

Take Action on H.1948—An Act relative to out-of-hospital birth access and safety

The Out-of-Hospital Birth Access and Safety Act establishes an independent board of midwifery in Massachusetts and licensure for midwives based on the nationally-accredited Certified Professional Midwife credential (as two-thirds of states already do). Licensure is a prerequisite for establishing payment through Medicaid and private insurance and for CPMs to open freestanding birth centers, as they do in many other states. The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed the Out-of-Hospital Birth Access and Safety Act. Contact your representative and urge support of H.1948—An Act relative to out-of-hospital birth access and safety. See League testimony here.

Wanted: Poll Workers

Many cities and towns are in critical need of poll workers, especially those who are bilingual. The new election 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: Elections: Be a Poll Worker. 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 and promote this link with your networks, League volunteers, and on social media to encourage poll worker recruitment: https://www.powerthepolls.org/?source=LWVUS. Read our blog about the new initiative