Monday, Oct. 24 - Friday, Nov. 4
Early Voting Period
Friday, October 28
Phonathon begins
Tuesday, Nov. 8

General Election

December 2016
Program Planning Begins
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017
Charter School Study Consensus Reports Due
A Word From Our President
Dear Massachusetts League Members,

We often hear that the League is too slow.  Pundits and activist groups respond to issues and events almost instantly. News is all over the internet and TV immediately. Why does the League take so long? 

Most major issues this nation is facing today are more than a decade old. It is generally not the quick response but the reasoned, well-researched policy that produces progress. The League must be in the fight for the long haul. We cannot be just another voice about the issue of the day, to be heard once and then lost in the rush of later news. The policies and direction of this nation are the result of decades of building political bases, of carefully nurtured ideas, of patient effort. The League knows this from its own experience. Women did not get the vote from some overnight social media campaign.    

Another complaint:  The League process is too cumbersome. In other organizations, a few individuals and executives set policies, so why do we keep going back to our membership? 

The League is first and foremost a membership organization of informed individuals. People speaking and acting for the League must do so knowing that they are supported by the members and that members' views are the result of careful consideration of the facts and issues. 

During the coming months your Leagues will have the opportunity to be part of that process which guides and empowers those who speak and act for the League.  I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the LWVMA Charter School study and consensus meetings. The results will help set policy on key issues for many years to come.  Consider using these consensus meetings as a recruiting tool. Invite prospective members.  Take this opportunity to show them what League consensus is all about.

Yours in League,
Jean Cherdack, President

Early Voting Begins in Massachusetts

Starting this past Monday, for the first time Massachusetts voters can cast their ballots before Election Day, at their own convenience. This year, voters can vote at any early voting location in their community, by mail, or at their polling place on Election Day. The early voting period began Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 4. Voters can find early voting hours and locations for their cities and towns online

LWVMA is proud to be a member of the Election Modernization Coalition, which campaigned for passage of the 2014 Election Modernization Law that established early voting and other election reforms in the Commonwealth. 
On Oct. 19, the coalition honored 201 of the state's 351 municipalities with Gold and Silver Medals for offering voters substantial early voting options. These communities met the coalition's recommended standards for early voting  by offering evening and weekend hours and, where appropriate, multiple early voting locations.
Did You See Our Ad in the Oct. 23 Boston Globe?

Throughout our 96-year history, LWVMA has been committed to educating and engaging voters throughout the Commonwealth.   This ad, designed in cooperation with Boston University Ad Lab students, appeared in the Oct. 23 Boston Globe as part of advertising space donated by the Globe through its non-profits grant program.  Your "votes" in that grant contest last spring made this ad possible!

LWVMA Publishes Online Voters' Guide for Election

To provide Massachusetts voters with clear, accurate, unbiased information as they go to the polls, we have published an online Voters' Guide,  Our guide features detailed information about the presidential, congressional, state legislature, sheriff, Governor's Council, and county commissioner races, as well as the statewide ballot questions.
The online guide allows voters to access personalized ballot information simply by entering a street address then clicking "Show My Races."  The guide contains biographical background and candidate responses to questions posed by LWVMA.  
Voters are also able to find in-depth information about voter registration, voting requirements and rules, candidate forums and debates, and poll locations. 
Local Leagues Have Busy Election Season

Local Leagues have been very busy with candidate forums for both primary and general elections and ballot question forums.  Here's a brief rundown of some of the events that were shared with us:

Primary candidate forums: Martha's Vineyard, Amherst, Newton, Falmouth, and Northampton Area, plus one "Candidating" event by Springfield

General election candidate forums: Northampton Area, Greater Haverhill, Concord-Carlisle (held at Lowell High School with LowellVotes), Plymouth, Cape Cod Area, Acton Area (with Concord-Carlisle, Sudbury and Harvard), Winchester, Norwood, and Falmouth

Ballot question forums: Wayland, Brookline, Needham, Northampton Area, Westwood-Walpole-Dedham, and Boston

Other voter service events: Arlington offered "How to Vote" and "The Role of the Sheriff in our Community Justice System"
Springfield Pioneers "Candidating"
By Linda Matys O'Connell, lead organizer, Springfield Unit/LWV of the Northampton Area

The Springfield Unit of the League of Women Voters of the Northampton Area took an innovative approach to candidate events in the September state primary election: "Candidating 2016," borrowing techniques from speed-dating. In the words of one participant: "This format was the best I've ever seen. The candidates seemed to give their personal bests, and the voters were comfortable. Thumbs up!"
The idea for "Candidating 2016" developed as we observed candidate forums and meet-and-greet events held by city party committees and civic groups. We noted several things: Forums relied on moderators and media pundits. Audiences were largely the already politically engaged. Candidates mostly didn't move beyond rehearsed campaign talking points. Most audience members were passive. In contrast, we appreciated the less structured, more personal nature of meet-and-greets, but small ones featured only one or two candidates. In large groups, contact was too brief to form more than a surface impression. Read more...
Your Support Makes a Difference
Many thanks to donors to our Fall Appeal for your generous support!  Our annual Phonathon fundraiser is getting under way to reach members who have not yet contributed.  Thank you in advance for saying "Yes!" when you receive a call from a fellow League member. Our success depends on you!

Several local Leagues have already volunteered to make calls -- will yours? This is a win-win opportunity for local Leagues: your League will earn 10% of the contributions solicited by your team. If your League would like to participate, please contact Brynne Gorman.  
Plan to Participate in the Charter School Study
The background materials and consensus questions for the LWVMA study of charter schools are now available on the state League website here. 
Ask your local League's leadership about a consensus meeting for this study.  We strongly encourage all local Leagues to participate in order to reach a true consensus of our state membership on this important issue.  Once we have that consensus, the state League can develop a position on charter schools that will, in the future, allow us to support, oppose and suggest changes in legislation, to testify on Beacon Hill on more creative funding proposals and on governance and accountability issues, to take stands on ballot questions, and to play a more active role in this discussion.
The consensus report will be due back to LWVMA on Feb. 1, 2017.
Nominating Committee Asks Your Help
Thank you to our members who have responded so generously to the Nominating Committee's invitation to discuss LWVMA leadership positions.  

We've received 17 inquiries, and we haven't even started calling League leaders yet!  Please continue to email the Nominating Committee at for more information or to discuss LWVMA Board of Director or Nominating Committee process or positions.  
Environmental Action Committee Seeks Members
The last legislative session resulted in significant energy and environmental legislation, along with a unanimous Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling requiring the Commonwealth to meet emissions targets in the Global Warming Solutions Act.  There is much more to do and LWVMA members can make a difference. Public education and outreach are key to advancing policies, and no one does education and outreach better than the League!
A Steering Committee to support action and advocacy on the environment is being formed.  The committee of 10-12 leaders from across the state will work together to connect and guide Leagues within their regions to advance LWV action and advocacy on critical energy and environmental issues.  Contact Launa Zimmaro or Karen Price if you would like to be a part of this important effort. Read more....
League Program Planning Coming        
The program planning process to develop the recommended program for LWVMA's 2017-2019 biennium is getting underway.  Program planning materials will be sent to all local Leagues in early December, and we hope as many local Leagues as possible will hold program planning meetings to get member input.
During the program planning process, Leagues will consider action priorities, the focus of the state League's work for the next two years; action items, specific projects to tackle; and proposed studies, restudies or concurrences.  This is how the League decides what it will do for the next two years.  The recommendations from local Leagues will be used to develop the proposed program that will be voted on at the LWVMA convention next spring.
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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League of Women Voters of Massachusetts | 133 Portland St | Boston | MA | 02114