CALENDAR
Monday, Feb. 1
"YOUth Should Vote" high school video contest kick off
Tuesday, Feb. 9
Day on the Hill, Massachusetts State House, Boston, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  
Wednesday, Feb 10
Deadline to register for March 1 primary election
Tuesday, March 1
Presidential primary election
Thursday, March 10
"Use your Voice Tour 2016," Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 13

Environmental Action Conference, Northeastern University, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Saturday, April 30
LWVMA Council, Clark University, Worcester, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A Word From Our President
   
The Massachusetts League is starting the new year with a bang! Please check out all the activities for this election year in our MOVE 2016 initiative, and plan to participate in some or all of them, such as helping with Vote411.org and encouraging your own election officials to offer expanded early voting hours. Our thanks to Executive Director Meryl Kessler for spearheading the MOVE 2016 effort and securing grants to finance it, and to the anonymous League member whose donation lets us do Vote411.org at no cost to local Leagues.

I hope to see many of you at the State House for Day on the Hill Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Thanks for all you do to make democracy work!
 
 
Jean Cherdack, LWVMA President
ELECTIONS AND VOTING
 MOVE  2016: Join the Movement!
  
For election 2016, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is launching a multi-pronged voter education and engagement initiative: MOVE 2016 (Massachusetts Voter Engagement 2016), designed to provide voters throughout the Commonwealth with resources to encourage participation and informed choice in the 2016 election. Our goal is to "MOVE the needle" by substantially increasing voter registration and turnout rates in the Commonwealth. We are grateful to the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation, the Salem Five Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous League member for financial support for this program.
 
MOVE 2016 includes the following elements:
 
VOTE411.org Online Voters' Guide: This customizable digital resource created by LWVUS will allow Massachusetts voters to access personalized ballot information-for statewide races, U.S. Congressional races, state legislative races, and ballot questions-simply by entering a street address! Voters will also be able to access in-depth information about candidates (including candidates' responses to questions created by LWVMA) and ballot questions, an online voter registration tool, local and state voting requirements and rules, and a polling place finder. LWVMA will bring this digital platform to Massachusetts voters for the first time for election 2016. Here is information on how your League can participate, both for spring town elections and next fall's elections.
 
Early Voting Challenge: The Election Modernization Coalition, which includes LWVMA, has issued its recommendations for implementing early voting in the state, effective with the November 2016 election. A law passed by the state legislature in 2014 requires early in-person voting be available at city or town election offices for an eleven-day period before the election, during normal business hours. To encourage cities and towns to offer a robust early voting program, the coalition has issued an Early Voting Challenge, with gold and silver "medals" to recognize communities which meet or exceed those recommendations. We are asking local Leagues to contact their town and city election officials and ask them to offer night and weekend early voting hours, as well as multiple early voting locations for municipalities with over 35,000 residents. Click here for a toolkit with information on the law, FAQs, sample letter to the editor, sample town meeting warrant and more. Make an appointment with your town's election officials now!
 
Eye-catching print and digital educational materials: These unique LWVMA materials will educate voters about other significant changes to Massachusetts' election procedures as a result of the 2014 election modernization law -specifically, the addition of online registration, now available, and pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, starting in August. They will also include both print and digital "voters' pledge cards" to encourage eligible voters to commit to casting their vote. Thank you to the Boston University Ad Lab for their design work on these materials. Contact the LWVMA office to get the online registration cards to distribute at your League's events.
 
"YOUth Should Vote!" Student Video Contest: LWVMA's third annual Student Video Contest will kick off Feb. 1 and run through March 31.  The theme this year is "YOUth Should Vote!" To mobilize the youth vote in Election 2016, we are inviting Massachusetts high school students to send 30-second videos (public service announcements) that encourage young people to register to vote and turn out at the polls in November. The first-place award is $1,000; second-place, $500; and third-place, $250.  All winners will be invited to attend an award ceremony at the Massachusetts State House, and winning videos will be publicized throughout the state. We need your League to help publicize the contest; you can find information here.
 
League Choice Books for Children and Teens: In anticipation of the 2016 presidential election, LWVMA has created a new program identifying books to inspire children and teens to learn about voting, civic engagement, democracy, and the suffrage movement. The chosen titles cover a broad range of topics for all reading levels and are readily available through your favorite book vendors. These books are a great way to promote your League through donations to your library and awards for students, and make excellent additions to gift baskets for auctions and other fundraisers. They are also wonderful gifts for young people in your life. For more information and to see our current recommendations,
click here.
ADVOCACY
Make the League's Voice Heard! Come to Day on the Hill
 
Massachusetts State House
Organize your carpools and put your lobbying hat on. It's time to make democracy work! LWVMA's annual lobbying day is Tuesday, Feb. 9, (snow day Feb. 23) in Gardner Auditorium at the State House. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program runs from 10 a.m. to noon.
 
Our theme this year is "Why This? Why Now? What Finally Moves Legislation." A panel will explore why bills that are introduced session after session finally gain traction and a chance to become law. Panelists will be Sen. William Brownsberger on criminal justice legislation; Rep. Shawn Dooley on election reform; and Pamela Wilmot, executive director, Common Cause of Massachusetts, on public records access. After the presentation, LWVMA legislative specialists will outline specific bills we are following.

Please take a moment to register here that you will be attending Day on the Hill. We encourage you to meet with your own Senators and Representatives to advocate for the bills we support. If you register before Feb. 4, the LWVMA office will let your Senators and Representatives know that their League constituents will be stopping by. Or you can make your own arrangements with your legislators.

You should have gotten an email earlier this week with all the information you need on the bills we support and tips on how to talk to legislators. You can find that information here as well.
And Meet Legislators in Your Towns
 
Day on the Hill is a key opportunity for the League to be heard on Beacon Hill, but it's also tremendously important for local Leagues to get to know their Senators and Representatives. The Legislative Action Committee offers these suggestions on ways your League can work with your legislators year round. Take a look at Ideas for Working with Your Legislators here or in the Day on the Hill booklet.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Save the date
Save the Date for Council 
 
LWVMA will hold its biennial Council meeting for all members Saturday, April 30, at Clark University in Worcester. The program will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. LWVMA holds a one-day Council for members in alternate years to the two-day Convention. Everyone is welcome!
15 Mass. Leagues Participated in Constitutional Amendment Study
 
Thanks to the local Leagues that submitted a consensus report in the LWVUS Constitutional Amendment study done last fall: Acton Area, Amherst, Arlington, Cape Cod Area, Concord-Carlisle, Falmouth, Marblehead, Needham, Newton, Northampton Area, Norwood, Sudbury, Wellesley, Westwood-Walpole-Dedham and Winchester.

The national study group is reviewing the responses, including comments, and writing a draft position. The draft position goes to the Education Fund Committee which makes a recommendation to the board. The board determines consensus and approves a position statement. The position will be announced sometime prior to the LWVUS Convention in June.

The process is the same for the Money in Politics study, although the timeline and study committees are different. The consensus reports for that study are due Feb. 1.
Still Time to Donate in Annual Appeal
 
Thanks so much to all of you who responded with your generous donations to our fall fundraising appeal and annual Phonathon. If you have not yet sent in your pledge, please take a minute to do so. If you want to donate and help support all the exciting election year programs outlined above, click here.
Discount Tickets Available for Environmental Action Conference
 
LWVMA is a co-sponsor of the 2016 Local Environmental Action Conference, reinforcing our action priority on protecting the environment. The conference will be Sunday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northeastern University, an opportunity to connect with community leaders, environmental advocates and activists from across New England for skills training, networking, and inspiration.

Since we are co-sponsoring and will have a table there, League members are eligible for discounted tickets.
Click here to get the discounted rate. Be sure to select the second option: $25.00 (Early Bird) tickets for members of co-sponsoring groups. Early Bird discount of $25 (rather than $40 standard Early Bird rate) is available until Feb. 15; all rates will go up after Feb. 15. If you'd like to help at the LWVMA table, contact Launa Zimmaro.
LWVUS Concert Tour in Cambridge March 10
 
Award-winning singer/songwriter Patty Griffin is teaming with fellow artists Sara Watkins and Ana´s Mitchell for a major U.S. tour and voter engagement drive in conjunction with the national League of Women Voters.

The "Use Your Voice Tour 2016" is visiting 38 U.S. cities and will be in Cambridge Thursday, March 10, at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. This special "singers-in-the-round" show features all three artists on stage together. To order tickets, go to
The Harvard Box Office or call 617-496-2222.

"The League is excited to be teaming up with Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Ana´s Mitchell to make sure all voices are heard on Election Day 2016," said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters. "We're ready to help fans get the election information they need."
Linda O'Connell Joins LWVMA Board
 
The LWVMA board has appointed Linda O'Connell as a director.               

Linda has been a guiding force behind the revitalization of the Springfield League, currently operating as the Springfield unit of the Northampton Area League.

As a journalist, Linda helped start a revolution in 1973 when she founded the Valley Advocate, one of the first alternative newsweeklies. Linda was a pioneer in broadcast journalism as the host of Connecticut Public Television's Womankind, one of the first talk shows devoted to women's issues.

Linda now works as a communications consultant and self-efficacy coach with her company OC2. She is a recent graduate of the Western Massachusetts Women's Fund's Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact as well as a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Brown University.
Check the Box!
 
You can take one small step to support public financing of political campaigns. Check the election campaign fund boxes on your Federal and Massachusetts income tax forms. Most outside tax preparers will not check the box unless you tell them to. The Federal checkoff allocates $3 to the fund; the state checkoff allocates $1. Checking the box does not change the amount of taxes you owe or the amount of your refund.
Voter Registration Deadline
 
Please remind friends who may not be registered that the deadline to register to vote in the March 1 Presidential primary is Wednesday, Feb. 10. People can register online here.
 
The Mass. League Voter is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Voter by clicking here. Please review this Update for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

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