CALENDAR
Friday, February 26
LWVMA/LESF Combined Board Meeting, North Hill, Needham, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 1
Presidential Primary Election
Thursday, March 10
"Use Your Voice Tour 2016", Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge,  8 p.m.
Thursday, March 31
Deadline to enter the " YOUth Should Vote" Student Video Contest
Saturday, April 30
Council, Clark University, Worcester,  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
HAPPENING NOW
Student Video Contest Needs YOU
  
LWVMA's third annual Student Video Contest is accepting entries 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 that encourage young people to register to vote and turn out at the polls in November.

Please help us publicize the contest by sending information to your local high school, youth organizations, and cable news station; putting up flyers in your community; and posting information on your Facebook page; you can find information and a flyer to download
here. You can also be a judge--no experience necessary, and you can watch and rate the videos from your own home. Please contact Executive Director Meryl Kessler to volunteer.
Make Your Plans to Attend Council April 30
  
Mark the date on your calendar for LWVMA Council 2016 at Clark University in Worcester Saturday, April 30h from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All local League members are welcome to attend; there's no limit to how many members a League can send. You'll learn more about the Charter School study and have a chance to join in on a raucous kick-off for our ambitious MOVE 2016 program to get out the vote for the 2016 election. Look for exciting details on this special membership event early in March.
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.

"Our League is excited to be a part of this inspiring tour," said Jean Cherdack, LWVMA president. "With Election Day 2016 looming, now is the time for us to take advantage of any and all opportunities to talk with voters about how much their voice matters, help our neighbors make sure their voter registration is up to date, and get them the information they need to cast a vote."

Bring a Robust Early Voting Period to Your Town
  
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, starting with the November election. To encourage cities and towns to offer a robust early voting program with additional evening and weekend hours, the Election Modernization Coalition has issued an Early Voting Challenge, with gold and silver "medals" to recognize communities which meet or exceed the coalition's 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!

ADVOCACY
Day on the Hill Panel Urges Personal Activism

Legislators respond to personal approaches from their constituents, the three panelists at Day on the Hill agreed. They urged League members to make direct appeals to their Senators and Representatives if they want to influence what happens on Beacon Hill.

LWVMA's annual lobby day Feb. 9 drew almost 100 participants, including dozens of League members from across the state and a group of students from Arlington High School, despite a snowstorm the day before. With the theme, "Why This? Why Now? What Finally Moves Legislation," the three panel members discussed what impacted specific legislation and then took questions.
Read more...
LWVUS Issues Two Positions on Constitutional Amendment
 
The national League of Women Voters board has announced a new position calling for safeguards to govern the constitutional convention process and a position outlining considerations for evaluating constitutional amendment proposals.

The positions were based on consensus reached by 246 local and state Leagues, including 15 in Massachusetts, and ILOs who participated in the Constitutional Amendment Process study. LWVUS thanks the Leagues from 46 states that participated in the study and a special thanks to the Constitutional Amendment Process study committee headed by Pat Donath of the LWVUS Board.

The positions, adopted at the January board meeting, can be used by state Leagues to address ongoing debates in many legislatures regarding constitutional conventions, in particular as they relate to the balanced budget.
LWVUS Board Sets 2016 Legislative Priorities
 
The LWVUS Board set its federal legislative priorities for the second session of the 114th Congress at its January board meeting. Establishing a focus for national advocacy is a critical responsibility of the LWVUS Board. In setting priorities, the Board considered a number of factors, the most important of which is focusing League effort where it can have the greatest impact.

For 2016, the LWVUS legislative priorities are ranked in two tiers. The first tier priority is Representative Democracy, which includes
voting rights and election administration, money in politics, redistricting reform and work on a constitutional convention. The second tier is Climate Change.

LWUVS continues to watch action on several other issues including immigration, health care, reproductive rights and environmental protection.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
US Program Planning Deadline
 
The Guide to LWVUS Program Planning 2016-2018 and Programming Planning Response form are available for state and local Leagues and ILOs. These materials provide information about the program planning process and present the LWVUS proposal for education and action in the next biennium. You may also want to listen to the Program Planning 2016 webinar which is now posted in the LWVUS Webinar Library. For questions or further information, contact Program Outreach Chair Barbara Zia. The deadline to submit your League's recommendations for LWVUS program planning is March 1.
LWVUS Convention is June 16-19 in Washington DC
 
Registration for the LWVUS Convention 2016: Making Democracy Work« - For All is now open. Sign up to join hundreds of League leaders from around the U.S. in our nation's capital, June 16-19. For Convention information, to register, make your hotel reservation and purchase a ticket for the Capitol Steps performance, go to Convention 2016 information page.

March 1: Important Deadline for Several Convention Business Items
Please note that input or responses to several Convention-related business items are due on March 1. These include submitting your League's input on program, amending the LWVUS Bylaws, and requesting a hardship designation.

Learn More about Convention 2016
Join LWVUS Convention Chair Peggy Appler and LWVUS staff for a webinar about Convention 2016 on Thursday, March 10 at 1 pm ET. Find out what's planned and ask your questions. You can register for the webinar here. LWVUS will record the session and post it on the Convention 2016 information page.

Brag about Your League's Impact: Apply for a Convention 2016 Award
Share the great work that your League has done during the past biennium (July 2014 - June 2016) by applying for a Convention award. There are three categories: Effective Community Engagement, Strengthening Democracy, and High Impact Visibility. All applications are due March 21.
The League Leader Update is distributed to local League board members and LWVMA leaders. Anyone can request the Update 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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