Summer 2016 Update
LWVMA To Publish Online Voters' Guide for September 8 State Primary
To assist Massachusetts voters as they go to the polls for the state primary on September 8, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is publishing an online Voters' Guide, www.VOTE411.org, that features information about primary candidates for all offices on the ballot. This guide will go live by August 18.
 
By entering a street address into www.VOTE411.org, any Massachusetts voter can access personalized ballot information - including candidates' biographical information and answers to specific questions - for all primary races on his or her ballot.
 
Later this fall, the information on www.VOTE411.org will be updated for the November 2016 general election and will contain complete information about candidates for the presidential, congressional, state legislature, sheriff, Governor's Council, and county commissioner races, as well as about the statewide ballot questions.
 
As always, the election information provided by the League is nonpartisan; we never endorse or support parties or candidates! 


Massachusetts Early Voting Takes Effect for General Election

LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler at press conference.
Massachusetts' first experience with early voting will begin in two months as a new early voting law allows people more opportunities to vote. The early voting period starts 11 business days preceding the November 8 general election. Within that period, municipalities are required to have at least one voting site open during normal business hours, but there is great flexibility in how the law is implemented.


The Election Modernization Coalition, of which LWVMA is a member, has urged municipalities to institute a robust version of early voting that includes evening and weekend hours and, in communities of more than 35,000 people, multiple voting sites. 


At an August 4 press conference, the coalition released results of a preliminary survey indicating that 40% of the state's municipalities are in the final stages of planning for early voting, 35% have started planning, and 13% had no plans at. (The remaining communities could not be reached.) However, the results also indicated that only a small number of municipalities were implementing the most robust versions of early voting recommended by the coalition.  The coalition will issue a final report on early voting this fall.


LWVMA High School Video Contest Winners Mobilize the Youth Vote for Election 2016
2016 video contest
With fewer than 50% of young people between 18 and 29 voting in the 2012 election, LWVMA challenged Massachusetts  high school students to create public service announcements to mobilize the 2016 youth vote. 


Our "YOUth Should Vote!" Student Video Contest received amazing and inspiring videos from hundreds of students across the state!


On June 6, we honored the creators of the three top videos and ten honorable mentions at an award ceremony at the State House. Representative Cory Atkins spoke about the importance of youth civic engagement, and Representative David Linsky, Representative James Arciero, and several legislative aides were also on hand to present the students with official citations.


Look for the videos on social and traditional media as we approach the general election! 
How Do We Reach Underrepresented Voters?  Our Panel of Experts Weighs In
What groups in Massachusetts are left out of the electoral process and what will it take to reach them?  On April 30, our panel of experts -- Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg (CIRCLE), Eva Millona (MIRA), Nathaniel Stinnett (Environmental Voters Project) -- shared strategies for mobilizing underrepresented groups in our state.


Several bills LWVMA strongly supported passed in the 189th session of the Massachusetts legislature, which ended at midnight Sunday, July 31.


A bill improving access to public records, a strong pay equity bill and an energy diversity bill that increases the state's reliance on renewable energy sources all passed with active League support.


The legislature in this session made major strides in considering bills to reform the criminal justice system.  While only the bill to repeal automatic drivers' license suspensions for certain drug-related offences passed, the work done on criminal justice reform is expected to carry over into the new session which begins in January.


In the next session, the League will again work for election reform bills, including ones to implement automatic voter registration and election day registration and to redraw Boston precinct lines.
Eight LWVMA Members Are "Unsung Heroines"
We salute the eight League members who were honored as Unsung Heroines of 2016 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Jean Childs of Wellesley, Ellen Harde of Westford, Kathleen Hobson and Marcia Johnson of Newton, Judy Jacobi of Marblehead, Shaari Mittel of Brookline, Ruth L. Moorhouse of Springfield, and Frances J. Osman of Acton received the award at the State House on June 22. According to the Commission, "this event pays tribute to extraordinary women from across the Commonwealth who work hard to better their communities without fanfare or recognition. Unsung Heroines do not make the news, but they truly make a difference."
Join us
Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy.  As a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, the League does not support or oppose candidates or parties.  However, the League does take positions on important issues of public policy after study and consensus. With 43 local Leagues throughout the Commonwealth, LWVMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide range of issues. Please help advance our important work by joining the League.
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