Press Releases

Election Modernization Coalition Lauds Implementation of Online Voter Registration

BOSTON (June 23, 2015) – Today, Secretary of State William Galvin announced the official launch of online voter registration, implementing a long-awaited reform that will allow Massachusetts citizens with signatures on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles to fill out paperless voter registration applications over the Internet.

The Election Modernization Coalition, comprised of Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, the MIRA Coalition, Progressive Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Voter Table celebrated the launch, and applauded the new technology which they predict will engage new voters.

“We are extremely pleased that Massachusetts will be joining 20 states that have already implemented online voter registration,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “It’s a proven reform that will bring Massachusetts into the 21st Century and improve voter registration accuracy while increasing opportunities to register to vote.”

Before today, state residents were required to fill out a voter application, sign it in paper form, and then mail or deliver it to an elections official. Now applications can be submitted online and verified by matching information, including signature, already contained in the Registry of Motor Vehicles database. Residents without state IDs or driver’s licenses can print out a form and send it in.

“It’s thrilling that, as of today, voter registration will be available in Massachusetts online,” said Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “In a day and age when so many transactions, tiny and huge, take place via the internet, we look forward to this tool giving more people, and especially young people, greater access to voting.”

Advocates noted that in Arizona, after online voter registration was implemented, registration increased by nearly 10 percent. Maricopa County in Arizona even saved $1.4 million after implementing online voter registration in 2008. In that county, processing a paper registration form cost 83 cents, while an online application cost three cents. Massachusetts, like most other states, will likely see cost savings.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” said Sara Brady, Policy Director at MassVOTE. “We’re very pleased that in 2015 our Commonwealth took another step towards ensuring accessible elections for all with the launch of the new online voter registration system today.”

“Massachusetts is the cradle of liberty and the tech hub of the universe, so online voting is a marriage of two of the commonwealth’s greatest strengths. In other words, it’s a no-brainer,” said Gavi Wolfe of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “The state should always be innovating and seeking out new ways to harness technology in the service of fundamental freedoms like voting.”

The launch of online voter registration is one of the first steps in implementing the Comprehensive Election Modernization Act, passed in 2014 by the Massachusetts legislature and championed by the Election Modernization Coalition. The law established online voter registration, early voting, pre-registration, audits of election equipment and more.

“Our coalition fought hard for this reform, which was signed into law in June 2014, said Anne Borg, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “We applaud Secretary William Galvin’s office for their diligence and commitment to launching online voter registration early and fully and look forward to working with them to implement the remaining reforms, especially early voting.”

Massachusetts League of Women Voters Elects Co-Presidents, Officers, and Directors

BOSTON—Anne Borg of Newton and Jean Cherdack of Ashfield have been elected co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts for the next two years.

Borg is a member of the Newton League, and Cherdack is a member of the Northampton Area League.  They were elected at the state League’s recent convention in West Springfield.

The other state League officers and their local Leagues are Marlene O’Brien, Wellesley, first vice president; Dee Ortner, Concord-Carlisle, second vice president; Karen Price, Needham, third vice president; Shelley Drowns, Waltham, secretary; and Andrea Kozinetz, Newton, treasurer.

Elected as LWVMA directors are Mary Ann Ashton of Acton Area, Roslyn Broch of Williamstown, Nancy Brumback of Sudbury, Melisa Hollenback of Shrewsbury, Carole Pelchat of Greater Haverill, Terry Yoffie of Newton, and Launa Zimmaro of Concord-Carlisle.

The convention also adopted plans for a major voter registration and voter turnout effort centered on the 2016 election and for a strong program promoting civic education and civic engagement

The state League’s other priorities over the coming two years will be the issues of money in politics, climate change and the environment, and addressing income inequality.

The LWV of Massachusetts includes 45 local Leagues across the state.

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues.  Additional information is available at www.lwvma.org.

5/20/2015

LWVMA Announces Winners of “There Oughta Be a Law” Student Video Contest

May 8, 2015 / Boston, MA – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) today announced the three winners of its “There Oughta Be a Law” Student Video Contest.

For its second annual student video contest, the League invited Massachusetts high school students to create two-minute videos suggesting new laws to help keep Massachusetts great.  The contest aimed to heighten civic awareness among high school students, provide an opportunity for them to speak out about the topics that are important to them, and possibly help shape the legislative agenda. The winners will receive awards of $1,000 (first place); $500 (second place); and $250 (third place).

The three winning videos are:

First Place: “Violation of Gun Control,” by Benjamin Andersson Grotnes (with Anne Helmen, Julia Hines Grape, and Anniken Birkhaug), Maynard High School, Maynard

Second Place: “Statutory Rape,” by Susanita Carvajal (with Ezra Kaim, Jordan Chase, Matt Friedrich, and Jill Stockley), Longmeadow High School, Longmeadow

Third Place:  “The Risks of Confidentiality,” by Alexa Lyons (of Newton), The Winsor School, Boston

The winning videos were selected from a pool of entries submitted from across the state—from western Massachusetts to the Cape and Islands—that touched on a wide variety of topics, including suicide prevention programs, genetically modified organisms, public art, clean energy, education, recycling, satellite dishes, driving laws, and voter registration. The Judging Committee selected the winning submissions based on their clear and compelling messages, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.  The positions taken in the videos do not necessarily reflect the positions of the League of Women Voters.

“We were extremely pleased that, for a second year, we received so many thoughtful and creative videos on such a wide range of topics,” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler. “But it is also fascinating that the three winning videos all address different aspects of public health and safety.”

“We are proud that the League of Women Voters has been able to provide young people across Massachusetts with a platform to share their concerns as well as their solutions,” said Anne Borg, co-president of LWVMA. “It is inspiring to see the range and quality of the students’ work.”

In addition to the individual prizes, Durfee High School in Fall River will receive a special prize of $250 to recognize the exceptional number of high quality videos submitted to the contest by Durfee students.  This is the second year in a row that Durfee High School has been so recognized.

The contest was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues. An award ceremony will be scheduled for later this month.

League of Women Voters’ Election Guide Features All Candidates for Statewide Office

9/30/2014 BOSTON—All 21 candidates for statewide offices on the November ballot have answered questions posed by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

Their responses are presented in a Voters’ Guide to Statewide Offices now available on the League’s website, www.lwvma.org.

The five candidates for governor answered questions on economic development, education, transportation, climate change and health care. Candidates for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor answered questions specific to those offices.

Voters can use the guide to read each candidate’s responses to all the questions or to read all the candidates’ responses to a particular question.

“We hope voters across the Commonwealth will use this voters’ guide to help make informed choices as they go to the polls on Nov. 4,” said Anne Borg, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “We are pleased to be able to provide this information and thank all the candidates for their willingness to participate in the guide.”

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues.

League of Women Voters’ Election Guide Features Responses From All Primary Candidates

8/13/2014 BOSTON—All 20 candidates for statewide offices on the Democratic and Republican party primary ballots have answered questions posed by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

Their responses are presented in a Primary Election Voters’ Guide to Statewide Offices now available on the League’s website, www.lwvma.org.

The candidates for governor answered questions on economic development, education, transportation, climate change and health care. Candidates for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor answered questions specific to those offices.

Following the Sept. 9 primary election, the League will update the voters’ guide and add responses from any independent candidates who qualify for the ballot in the general election Nov. 4.

Voters can use the guide to read each candidate’s responses to all the questions or to read all the candidates’ responses to a particular question.

“We hope voters across the Commonwealth will use this voters’ guide to help make informed choices as they go to the polls on Sept. 9,” said Anne Borg, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “We are pleased to be able to provide this information and thank all the candidates for their willingness to participate in the guide.”

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues.