Press Releases

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.

LWVMA Announces Winners of “Dear Future Governor” Student Video Contest

May 6, 2014 / Boston, MA – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) today announced the three winners of its “Dear Future Governor…” Student Video Contest.

With a gubernatorial election scheduled for fall 2014, the League invited Massachusetts high school students to create two-minute videos illustrating a problem or issue in their communities that they hope the next Governor will address.  The contest aimed to heighten civic awareness among high school students, provide them with an opportunity to speak out about the topics that are important to them, and possibly help shape the next Governor’s 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: “Restore Democracy,” by TJ Horgan, Burlington High School

Second Place: “Change,” by Addison Dlott, Natick High School

Third Place:  “Implementing Youth Courts Throughout Massachusetts,” by Rezwana Uddin, Durfee High School (Fall River)

The winning videos were selected from a pool of entries submitted from across the state—from western Massachusetts to Martha’s Vineyard—that touched on a wide variety of topics, including the economy, gun control, crime, gangs, the environment, education, campaign finance reform, legalization of marijuana, immigration, minimum wage, bullying, potholes, veteran’s benefits, and alternative energy, to name just a few. The Judging Committee—composed of members of LWVMA, as well as members of the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council—selected the winning submissions based on their clear and compelling messages, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.

“We were floored by the quality of the videos we received and by the range of topics they addressed,” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler. “We received so many excellent, thoughtful submissions that the Judging Committee had a difficult time choosing winners.”

“These videos show how deeply young people in Massachusetts care about finding solutions to issues of public policy” said Anne Borg, co-president of LWVMA. “We are proud not only of the winners, but of all the entrants.”

In addition to the individual prizes, Durfee High School in Fall River will receive a special prize of $250 for being the first high school to submit five or more videos. An award ceremony will be scheduled for later this month.

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.

Massachusetts League of Women Voters Blasts McCutcheon Decision

4/2/2014 BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts strongly disagrees with Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that aggregate campaign contribution limits are invalid. The case challenged the limits on the total contributions from an individual donor to candidates and political committees, limits that had been designed to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

“With this ruling, the Supreme Court continues to dismantle campaign finance reforms and protections and to enable the corrupting influence of moneyed interests on our democracy,” said Anne Borg, co-president of the state League.

“The Supreme Court is allowing our political process to be even further corrupted by huge financial contributions from special interests.”

“This and other recent Supreme Court decisions make it crucial that the Massachusetts legislature strengthen our state’s campaign finance laws with bills such as the ‘disclose act’ now pending in the legislature.”

The League of Women Voters of the United States filed an amicus brief in this case.

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Launches “Dear Future Governor” Student Video Contest

February 1, 2014 / Boston — With the Massachusetts gubernatorial election just nine months away, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has launched the “Dear Future Governor” Student Video Contest, an opportunity for high school students around the Commonwealth to let the next Governor know what’s on their minds.

LWVMA invites all Massachusetts high school students to create two-minute videos illustrating a problem or issue in their communities that they hope the next Governor will address.  The three top winners will be awarded $1000, $500, and $250, and their videos will be publicized by LWVMA.

Entries may be submitted online from February 1 through March 31, 2014 at www.lwvma.org.  Judging will take place in April, and winners will be announced in May.  The Judging Committee—composed of members of LWVMA, as well as members of the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council—will look for a clear and compelling message, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.

“The main goal of our ‘Dear Future Governor’ Student Video Contest is to provide an opportunity for young people to speak out on the topics that are important to them and possibly help shape the next Governor’s agenda,” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler.

The contest is sponsored by the League of Women Voters 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.  Official rules and further details are available at www.lwvma.org.

About the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts

Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy.  With 48 local Leagues throughout the state and approximately 3,000 members, LVWMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide range of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, state budget and finances, public education, and public safety.  Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. For more information about the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, go to www.lwvma.org.

Coalition Collects Enough Signatures to Put Updated Bottle Bill on Ballot

12/2/2013 BOSTON–Supporters of a ballot Initiative to update the state’s Bottle Deposit Law gathered on the steps of the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday to announce they collected almost double the number of signatures needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.

“From Salem to Stockbridge, from North Adams to New Bedford, we have signatures and support from citizens in every single one of the state’s 351 cities and towns,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG. “It’s hard to find someone who objects to reducing litter and increasing recycling.”

Although 68,911 valid signatures are required to put a question on the ballot, the Updated Bottle Bill campaign gathered 130,000 signatures, nearly double what is needed.

“We originally hoped to get 100,000 signatures, however we met with so much success and positive feedback that we just kept going,” said Lynn Wolbarst, environmental specialist with the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

This petition effort was spearheaded by a broad coalition of the state’s environmental, civic and advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, the Sierra Club, MASSPIRG, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, and the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.

The state’s bottle bill, the nickel deposit on soda, was originally passed over 30 years ago. The deposit covers only carbonated beverages, the popular beverage when the original bill passed. Now water, juices, and sports drinks dominate the marketplace, and there has been a sharp increase in litter of those types of containers. Recycling rates of soda bottles and cans, covered by the 5¢ deposit, is nearly 80%, but only 23% of water, juice, and other non-covered beverage containers are recycled. Legislation to update the law has been introduced for almost a decade but has never passed.

Now with 130,000 signatures turned in – over 105,000 certified by city and town clerks– attention will turn back to the legislature, which has several months to act on this bill before it heads to the November 2014 ballot.

“It defies logic that the Legislature has sat on such a popular, common sense, and money-saving bill for so many years,” noted Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “Maybe this overwhelming signature drive will finally get the message to them to pass this bill.”

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