October 2018 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Ten Local Leagues

Ten local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in October 2018:

LWV Brookline:  This League will produce a booklet that will include information on Brookline History, Government Structure, Voting Registration, Elective Offices, Boards and Commissions and Contact Information of Brookline Resources.  The booklet shall be made available to all Brookline citizens, with a focus on the issues of greatest concern to new residents. It will be a memorial to Sanford (Sandy) Ostroy who faithfully served the Brookline League as our Vice President, and who passed away in April 2017.  He had participated in LWVMA deliberations which developed the consensus materials for Local League Consensus Meetings and had organized those meetings for the Brookline League.

Central Berkshire Unit:  The Central Berkshire unit will register a minimum of 50 students per high school – 4 schools total – and with each registration provide a birthday tool kit for voter registration in MA, including a book mark of important voting dates, names of  all candidates and position they are running for, useful phone numbers and contact information. Buttons that say, “I Can Vote”, have been designed by a high school.  The unit will also print buttons that say: “ I Registered to Vote.”  Each kit will have either a birthday card (student designed) to read , “ Happy Birthday…you CAN REGISTER TO VOTE! or for 18 year-olds, “Happy Birthday…YOU CAN VOTE…LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!” With this card and verification that they have registered, students will receive a free coffee, hot chocolate or birthday treat from the school cafeteria. This will be ongoing and year round. Each month, a photo will be taken of all the students who registered and posted on our LWV Facebook page.

LWV Chelmsford: The Third Congressional Candidates’ Forum was a voter education activity.  It was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Chelmsford, the League of Women Voters of Concord, the Acton Area League of Women Voters and the League of Women Voters of Westford.  All expenses were paid by the LWV Chelmsford.  The forum was held at the Chelmsford High School Performing Arts Center.  All 10 Democratic primary candidates for the congressional seat attended; the Republican candidate was invited but chose not to attend.  It was moderated by a member of the League of Women Voters of Lexington. The public was invited; it is estimated that 500-600 people attended.

LWV Concord-Carlisle:  LWVCC co-sponsored with the LWV of Acton Area candidates forum for two hotly contested primary races—the 14th Middlesex State House seat and the 3rd Congressional District seat—on July 23, 2018 at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center in Concord.  All candidates on the September 4 ballot were invited and all candidates in the Democratic primary for both races attended the forum.  The forum was also videotaped and made available for viewing after the event.

LWV Franklin County: The LWVFC will host our newly elected legislators for a Q&A with the community at a local restaurant on a Saturday morning. Members will bring baked goods, while the restaurant will supply coffee/tea/water etc. This event was held last November to great success with enthusiastic feedback.

LWV Greater Haverhill: LWVGH has been attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell. These funds will be used to purchase miniature flags to hand out with voter registration forms to new citizen candidates as they enter the auditorium. A League member will explain to the candidates how to complete the form and that completed forms will be collected at the end of the event and mailed to their local city or town clerk.

LWV Hamilton-Wenham: Funds will be used to enhance Voter Registration Support Materials to expand voter registration efforts.  This includes: creating two additional voter registration kits and replenishing and updating the current kit; adding one to two small portable sandwich board signs to display “LWV Register to Vote Here” posters; offering some giveaways to first time voters such as buttons, stickers, or pens/stylus with the LWV logo; and reprinting educational materials, such as the “Running for Office” booklet.

Springfield Unit: The Springfield unit of the Northampton Area League of Women Voters has established a robust collaboration with the Springfield Public Schools and Springfield College to produce a community event incorporating the classic LWV civics bee, for SPS high school students, into a larger event involving college students, the Springfield City Council and School Committee, and the general public in a current-events trivia competition. The mission of Civics Fest 2018 is to foster civic knowledge and celebrate democracy in order to build community, to increase informed voter participation, and to promote critical thinking about government as a tool for change. Ninety Springfield high school student are currently signed up to participate.

LWV Waltham: This League had two sign boards made:  one with the City of Waltham Election calendar, and the other one displayed the LWV Mission Statement.  The signs were displayed at several voter registration events, culminating with National Voter Registration Day, September 25, 2018, an all-day voter registration event at the Waltham Public library.

LWV Wellesley: This League featured Barbara Bluestein Simons, a voting cyber security expert and a member of the LWV of San Francisco, who will present a program entitled “Election Security:  Threats and Solutions” at its Opening Meeting, which was free and open to the public on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.   This was a non-partisan and educational topic and quite relevant as we approach the mid-term elections in November.