Register Now for Feb. 26 Webinar on Ranked Choice Voting

LWVMA is pleased to offer a webinar featuring Adam Friedman of Voter Choice Massachusetts  who will explain how Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) works and provide an update on current legislative efforts to bring RCV to Massachusetts.

To register for this webinar click here.  After submitting your registration, you will receive an email with a link to the webinar.

 

Oppenheimer Interprets Climate Reports in LWVMA Webinar

Feb 6, 2019. In a League of Women Voters of Massachusetts webinar, Professor Michael Oppenheimer presented the most important findings from the 2018 Climate Reports. These two reports, the UN IPCC Report and the US National Climate Assessment Report, captured the attention of average citizens, politicians, and advocates for their stark projections of the future for the world and the United States.

Watch the webinar: It’s Happening. It’s Now: The Climate Reports of 2018.

View the webinar presentation.

Watch the other webinars and forums in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series.

Oppenheimer-Feb6-FlyerF

February 2019 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Three Local Leagues

Three local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in February 2019:

LWV Harvard: LWV Harvard will host a screening of the documentary NOW IS THE TIME: Healthcare for Everybody.” The film will be followed by a discussion about healthcare coverage, led by Dr. William Taylor, a former director with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State and federal elected officials have been invited to attend.

LWVMA’s Salem Unit:  LWV Salem will run a video contest for students in grades 6-12. Students will be tasked with creating short videos explaining the voting process and encouraging participation in the 2019 Salem city council and school committee election. Winning students will be awarded a cash prize.

LWV Sudbury: LWV Sudbury will host  its 11th annual Civics Bee. Middle school students, high school students, and adults work together on their towns’ teams, answering questions about the US, state, and local governments. The Civics Bee is open to the public and will air on television.

Recording of Webinar on “The Massachusetts Legislature: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” Now Available

January, 30, 2019/Boston, MA–A recording of the Jan. 29 LWVMA webinar on “The Massachusetts Legislature: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” presented by LWVMA Legislative Action Chair Nancy Brumback is now available here.  This webinar covers the process and timeline for passing legislation in Massachusetts, explains the League’s approach to advocacy,  and includes tips to enable “Citizen Lobbyists” to become actively involved in the legislative process.

LWVMA Urges Reform of House Rules

January 28, 2019/Boston, MA–The League of  Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) supports changes designed to bring greater transparency, access, and accountability to the rules that govern the Massachusetts House of Representatives. LWVMA is urging its members to contact their state representatives in support of the following package of six reforms that have been proposed:

  • Provide 72 hours for legislators to read bills before floor vote; provide 30 minutes for legislators to read amendments before floor vote
  • Provide 24 hours for committee members to read bill redrafts before committee vote
  • Allow for the discharge of bills that have substantial legislator support from joint committees
  • Require that written testimony and other documents provided to committees be made available to lawmakers and the public
  • Require that all committee votes are publicly available within 48 hours of votes taken
  • Create standards for staff, office, and resource allocations and make the standards publicly available

You can read about the proposed reforms and the League’s efforts in Commonwealth Magazine.

 

 

Climate Change Challenge Begins January 25!

The League of Women Voters invites Massachusetts high school students to participate in our sixth annual video contest, the Climate Change Challenge. Students should make a 30-second video describing and aspect of climate change and proposing a solution. Rules for entry can be found here. Please see our press release for more information.

Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition Applauds Governor Baker for Enacting the Country’s Most Comprehensive Civic Education Law

As a member of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition, LWVMA applauds the legislature and the governor on the passage and signing of the state’s new civic education law, S.2631. The Coalition’s statement is below:

Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition Applauds Governor Baker for Enacting the Country’s Most Comprehensive Civic Education Law

The State’s new civic education law will provide thousands of students across Massachusetts with a high quality civic education.

Boston, MA [Nov. 8, 2018]  – The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition (MCLC) applauds Governor Charlie Baker for signing into law bill S.2631, giving Massachusetts one of the nation’s most innovative statewide civic education programs. The new law, which Gov. Baker signed today, provides for funding for the professional development of teachers to teach civics effectively, the opportunity for students to participate in civics-based projects, and establishes civic education as a priority for school districts across the state.

The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition (MCLC) thanks the State Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor for their leadership in this legislation. This will help ensure that students across the Commonwealth will have access to a civic education curriculum that teaches them the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, fundamental knowledge about government, such as the functions of each branch and the electoral process, as well as key 21st century skills such as media literacy.

We commend the Legislature and the Governor for giving teachers the support they need to implement and teach the curriculum and facilitate civics projects to prepare students for thoughtful and informed participation in civic life. Specifically, MCLC appreciates the commitment to securing robust funding to implement the bill, including the provision of funds for teacher professional development through the Mass Civics Trust Fund.

“With the enactment of this law, Massachusetts has leapt to the forefront of civics education, joining states such as Florida and Illinois to take an innovative — and necessary — step to ensure that every young person in the state is prepared and engaged in civic life,” iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé said. “This is a critically important law, passed at a critically  important moment for our state and our country.”

Arielle Jennings, Generation Citizen’s Massachusetts Executive Director said, “Young people often have a hard time seeing the political process as relevant to them and are disengaged from it as a result. This law will help strengthen our democracy by educating a new generation of active citizens.”

The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition is a roundtable of twenty civics education organizations, research institutions, school districts, and stakeholders committed to improving the quality and implementation of K-12 civic education for students across the state. Members of the coalition include: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, Generation Citizen Massachusetts, iCivics, and other organizations committed to civic education reform.

For further information on MCLC, please visit www.macivicsforall.org.

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.

 

 

 

Recording of Webinar on “Barriers to Voting” with Prof. Erin O’Brien Now Available

October 31, 2018/Boston, MA–A recording of the Oct. 29 LWVMA webinar on “Barriers to Voting” featuring Professor Erin O’Brien is now available here.  In this webinar, Professor O’Brien presents an excellent overview of systemic voting barriers as well as policy reforms that can help get out the vote.

Professor O’Brien is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her areas of specialization are poverty politics, campaigning & elections, race in American politics, and American public policy. She is a regular commentator on all things public policy and Massachusetts politics for WGBH and numerous other media outlets. Her scholarship and commentary have been featured in outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, MSNBC, Time, and Newsweek.

2018 League Leaders Lunch Explores Partnerships, Governance

The October 20, 2018 League Leaders Lunch in Harvard brought together 66 leaders from around the state for a day of learning and sharing.  The day’s agenda included an update on what’s been happening at LWVMA and LWVUS, presentations on League advocacy and voter service, a preview of the Ballot Question study, and an interactive exercise to generate ideas related to the League’s 100th anniversary and expanding our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

The day also included two outstanding panel discussions:

The first, moderated by Linda Matys O’Connell of LWV Springfield, focused on building stronger partnerships with like-minded, diverse organizations.  As Linda said:  “In both its voter service and advocacy work, LWV benefits from working in partnership with other like-minded organizations. Partnership amplifies our collective voices, increases our impact, and improves our outcomes…Partnership is especially important in the current political environment…And our partnership must include diverse voices.”  We are grateful for the participation of the following panelists:

The second panel, which was moderated by Marilyn Peterson of LWV Acton Area, focused on different forms of local League governance.  We are grateful for the participation of Carin Kale (LWV Hamilton-Wenham), Jo-Ann Berry (LWV Acton Area), and Courtney Rau Rogers (LWV Norwood).

Many thanks to our co-host, LWV Harvard, who made us feel welcome in a great venue in a central location.

Presentations

Handouts