Yesterday, we sent a letter to Governor Baker urging him to use his authority to reduce the Massachusetts prison population in light of the surge of COVID-19 cases in these institutions. Keeping people in custody under health- and life-threatening conditions is inhumane. Read our letter here, and read the letter we referenced from MA 7th Congressional District Representative Ayanna Pressley and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins here.
This month, LWVMA participated in two forums with Transportation for Massachusetts. The first event, a Transportation & Climate Initiative forum held on November 10, focused on clean transportation for rural communities. It featured Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs Katie Theoharides, State Senator Adam Hinds, Franklin Regional Council of Governments Executive Director Linda Dunlavy, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Principal Planner/Section Manager Catherine Ratté, and The Nature Conservancy Director of Government Relations Steve Long. You can watch a recording here.
The second event, held on November 16, was a LWVMA and T4MA transportation policy forum, featuring LWVMA Co-President Elizabeth Foster-Nolan, Metropolitan Area Planning Council Manager of Government Affairs Lizzi Weyant, MASSPIRG and US PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale, T4MA Statewide Organizing Director Angela Johnson-Rodriguez, and Acadia Center Carbon Programs Director Jordan Stutt. That recording is available here.
Voters in Massachusetts set a record for the highest turnout election cycle in history this year! As of today’s count, approximately 3.46 million individuals (72% of registered voters) voted in the November 3 election. Approximately 41% voted by mail or dropbox, 28% voted early in-person, and 31% voted in-person on Election Day. Temporary election reforms made this year, including vote by mail and extended early voting, helped us have a safe, secure, and accessible state election. The Election Modernization Coalition urges the legislature, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Governor to make these reforms permanent. See the Election Modernization Coalition’s statement for more details.
Four local Leagues received Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education grants in October 2020:
LWV Greater Haverhill: LWVGH has been attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell since 2016. They were awarded a grant to purchase miniature flags to hand out with voter registration forms to new citizen candidates as they enter the auditorium.
LWV Northampton: LWV Northampton was awarded a grant to bring a traveling show on the history of women’s suffrage and two centuries of women’s activism to the Art for the Soul Gallery in downtown Springfield. The traveling show was previously an exhibit at Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield. Art for the Soul Gallery will display the show at no cost to the public.
LWV Westford: The Westford League will revise and reprint “A Guide to Town Meeting in Westford.” First produced in 1999, the Guide describes the entire process of Town Meeting in Westford, with sections on the warrant, participants, articles and motions, the debate, voting, a glossary and the indispensable Parliamentary Motions Guide. By clearly explaining how Town Meeting works, it encourages and empowers citizens to be active participants in Westford’s open Town Meeting. The Guide is free; copies are available at all Town Meetings, at the Town Clerk’s office and at League events.
LWV Worcester: LWV Worcester was awarded a grant for an educational program series:
- June 17, 2020, Let’s Talk Census
- August 12,2020, Get Out the Vote! How to vote in 2020. Who votes in our community and how do we encourage broader participation?
- October 14, 2020, Voter Suppression: How to recognize it; How to overcome it.
- December 9, 2020, Where now? Assessing Climate Change Options in Massachusetts, the US and Worldwide
- January 27, 2021, RUN! How to run for office; How to support candidates running for office.
- February 24, 2021, Anti-Racism Movie Night
- March 24, 2021, Focus on Women
- April 28, 2021, Get Out the Vote (Municipal Elections focus)
- May 26, 2021, Sex Work and Human Trafficking with Nikki Bell, Executive Director, LIFT
Voters who are under quarantine because of or awaiting a Covid-19 diagnosis can still vote.
The election law passed this summer provides for an emergency absentee ballot for voters hospitalized or quarantined a week before an election.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website explains: “If you have been admitted to a healthcare facility or you are instructed to quarantine in your home within one week of the election, you may use the absentee ballot application to designate someone of your choice to deliver a ballot to you. The person you designate to deliver your ballot will need to bring the signed application to your local election office, pick up your absentee ballot, bring it to you, and return it for you by the close of polls on Election Day. Emergency ballots may be requested up until the close of polls.”
If the voter can’t print an absentee ballot application, a representative can bring a letter from the voter to the local election official requesting an absentee ballot. Make sure it includes the name, address, and signature of the voter.
Download an absentee ballot application here.