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Category: Front Page News

LWVMA statement on SCOTUS opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts views the leaked Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, if it holds, as an attack on a fundamental right to health care and to the right of pregnant people to make their own decisions about what is best for them.  In light of the probable overturning of Roe v. Wade, the League expresses its gratitude to the Massachusetts state legislature for passing, in 2020, the ROE Act, legislation that codified the right to an abortion in Massachusetts regardless of any U.S. Supreme Court decision.  We salute our partners in reproductive health advocacy for their work in anticipating the need for this legislation.
 
We now urge the legislature to continue this work protecting the right to make one’s own health care decisions by passing without delay two additional bills:
  • H.1196/S.673 An Act ensuring access to full spectrum pregnancy care.  This bill would provide financial assistance for a full-range of pregnancy-related care.  See our testimony.  
  • H.2399/S.1470  An Act to require public universities to provide medication abortion. See our testimony
The national League of Women Voters continues to advocate for these rights on the federal level.  Read their statement here.  

Climate Meets Transportation–May 9

Climate, transportation, public health and equity come together in a May 9 LWVMA webinar with our partner Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA): Stepping Up Now: Climate, Transportation and Equity, A virtual forum to advance climate-focused transportation policy.

Register here for this important virtual event Monday, May 9, at 4 p.m. Learn what Massachusetts needs to do to address climate and transportation issues as the Senate tackles major legislation. We must act now to accelerate the transition to clean and equitable transportation and help Massachusetts meet its targets to reduce carbon pollution. 

Panelists are:

  • Joe Curtatone, President, Northeast Clean Energy Council
  • Staci Rubin, Vice President, Environmental Justice, Conservation Law Foundation
  • Alexis Walls, Assistant Campaign Director, Massachusetts Public Health Association 

and the moderator is Jen Benson, President, The Alliance for Business Leadership.

 Please Register Today!

 

Business Groups Endorse Election Day Registration

Business groups and networks are urging members of the VOTES Act Conference Committee to include Election Day Registration in the final VOTES Act voting reform bill.

The Alliance for Business Leadership, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Microsoft, Salesforce, Foundation for Business Equity, Emblem Strategic, MA Association of Community Development Corporations have endorsed Election Day Registration.

View the full letter here

The endorsement letter – written directly to State House Representative Mike Moran, Senator Barry Finegold and other conference committee members –l cites the positive impact EDR would have on democracy and businesses across the Commonwealth. The letter highlights how the business community has spoken out against bad voting legislation in other states and are now interested in supporting pro-voter measures like EDR in states.

The groups point to the benefit that a healthy democracy has for businesses, how businesses pay close attention to the political landscape in the states they seek to launch or grow in, businesses’ commitment to equity, and the strong connection between civic engagement and a skilled workforce.

“Election Day Registration (EDR) has popular support and will move our democracy forward in our Commonwealth. It’s a game changer in terms of expanding equity and access to the ballot box, especially for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color,” Jennifer Benson, President of the Alliance for Business Leadership said. “Let’s do right by our communities by including EDR in the final version of the VOTES Act so every eligible voter can make their voice heard at the ballot box on election day.” 

“Each Election Day, countless otherwise legally eligible voters are turned away from the polls, and despite them being able to easily verify the correct information and complete their registration at that moment, there is currently little recourse for them,” said Black Economic Council of Massachusetts President and CEO Nicole Obi. “This is especially true for black and brown voters who tend to be purged from voting lists at higher rates compared to white voters, and new voters who have been motivated to cast their ballots for the first time. This becomes even more troublesome when you consider that in order to vote, black and brown Americans are statistically more likely to wait in line for longer periods of time and as a result, are also more likely to be forced to call out of work. There is no reasonable justification for Americans being forced to choose between upholding their civic duties or losing wages. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to ensure that voting is accessible to all Americans and that every vote counts!”

“Election Day Registration would remove barriers to voting and make democracy stronger. It’s great to see the Massachusetts business community lend their support for this reform. A stronger democracy is good for business and the links between civic engagement and a skilled workforce create a win-win for all,” said Geoff Foster, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts

Election Day Registration would allow eligible voters to register and vote on the same day. Current law imposes a 20-day “blackout period” before each election when Bay Staters cannot register to vote, or update or correct their voter registration, a deadline that dates back to 1993. With about 12.6% of Massachusetts residents moving each year, the blackout period creates a barrier to voting for anyone who doesn’t think to update their voter registration until just before the election.

Research shows that Election-Day Registration could increase Black and Latino voter turnout up to 17%. Recent polling shows that 65% of Massachusetts voters support EDR.

These business groups and networks join over one hundred faith-based, labor, business, and nonprofit groups in endorsing Election Day Registration and the VOTES Act.

What is the VOTES Act?

The Senate and House have both passed a version of the VOTES Act. Both versions include permanent vote-by-mail, extended early voting, and more. The one item of disagreement is Same-Day Registration which the Senate included in their version of the bill, but the House excluded. The difference between Same Day Registration and Election Day Registration, is that SDR includes the ability to register on early voting days. EDR is just for Election Day.

The bills (S.2554 & H.4359) are being negotiated by a conference committee led by Representative Mike Moran (D-Brighton) and Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover) and includes Representative Dan Ryan (D- Charlestown), Representative Shaun Dooley (R- Norfolk), Senator Cindy Creem (D- Newton), and Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). 

In Memoriam: Florence Seldin (March 25, 1931 – April 6, 2022)

All of us at the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and League colleagues around the state – especially to our friends in the League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area (LWVCCA) – on the passing of Florence “Flo” Seldin, a beloved member of our League community.  Flo was a member of the League of Women Voters for 57 years.  She was a dynamic League leader whose counsel and advice many of us sought throughout the years, including right up until the time of her passing.  In the words of former LWVMA President Judy Zaunbrecher “Flo was a firecracker. I always enjoyed working with her and valued her point of view.” 

Flo served as President of the LWVCCA from 1997 to 2000. She also was very active in the League on a state-wide level, having served on the LWVMA board of directors, chaired its nominating committee, and participated on various ballot initiative committees, state convention committees, and the planning committee for LWVMA’s 100th anniversary celebration. For many years Flo moderated League sponsored candidate forums throughout Massachusetts and most recently, mastered the art of moderating candidate forums on Zoom.

Her energy, can-do spirit and wise counsel will be greatly missed.  Please click here for her obituary.