CALENDAR
Tuesday, May 23
An Economist's Perspective on Carbon Pricing webinar with Dr. Adele Morris, from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.  

Friday, June 9
LWVMA Board Meeting, Acton Library, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

Monday, June 26
LWVMA/LESF Board Retreat, North Hill, Needham   
From Our President

Dear League Members,

It's been a challenging, but oh so rewarding two years serving as your President. It was a pleasure working with so many dedicated Board members and local League leaders, as well as meeting League members across the state. It was also a great lesson in geography.
 
As I leave the presidency, we are experiencing a resurgence of interest in the League and its vital mission. New Leagues are forming and existing Leagues are increasing their numbers. Our membership is up over 15% in Massachusetts. With this resurgence comes renewed responsibility. We must all play our role in defending the principles for which the League stands. The League is on the front lines in the defense of our democracy.
 
I look forward to continuing to work with you as a member of the State Board where I hope to focus on supporting membership and mentoring new Leagues.
 
Please join me in welcoming and supporting our new co-presidents, Mary Ann Ashton and Linda Matys O'Connell.
 

In League,
Jean Cherdack, President
2017 Convention Roundup

Delegates and observers from local Leagues across Massachusetts shared the experience of Convention 2017, "The Future of Democracy: Facing the Challenges," with thoughtful discussion of the future of the League and how to best serve all of our new members and the greater community, a look into the thinking of the youngest members of the legislature, speakers on the role of newspapers and the state of democracy, and a glimpse into the changes coming to the League from the national level on down.

We are pleased that Mary Ann Ashton of the Acton Area League and Linda O'Connell of the Springfield unit of the Northampton League will be LWVMA co-presidents for 2017-2019.

The convention also conducted the League's business, electing officers and a new board, approving a two-year state study on the ballot question process, defining our action priorities and action items for the next two years, and approving a new position on charter schools.

To read more on each of these topics, please click on the links below:
HAPPENING NOW 
Watch for a new Action Email
  
To help all of our members take an active role in affecting change, LWVMA plans to start a new email to all members sent the first of the month, with a handful of very specific things to be aware of that month which you can take action on or should know about.

This reminder will include hearings or lobby days on bills we are supporting, when it's time to contact legislators about a bill, forums or events LWVMA is involved in, rallies or marches coming up, and similar items to help you take a more active role in Massachusetts.

We promise it will be short. We will welcome your feedback.
We're Growing! 
 
The League is feeling the effects of the surge of activism around the state.

By the February 1 deadline to report our membership to LWVUS, Massachusetts' membership was up 8% over the previous year. And three months later, membership had increased another 8%. We are showing a total increase of 17% in membership compared to a year ago!

A good part of that increase comes from the League which is forming in Franklin County. It started in January and already boasts 125 members. There's also interest in forming a Berkshire County League in Pittsfield.

And local Leagues all over the state are reporting a jump in membership as people rediscover the League as an already-established vehicle for the civic engagement they seek.
Video Contest Winners Coming Soon
 
We expect to announce the winners of our high school video contest in mid-May, and you'll be able to see the winning videos on our website.

This year's contest asked high school student across the state to submit at two-minute video showing how someone is "Making Democracy Work in My Community."

The creators of the three winning videos will receive cash prizes of $500, $250 and $100 and will be honored at an award ceremony at the State House in June.
Take a Look at Our Annual Report
 
We are pleased to share the 2015-16 Annual Report of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. The report recaps an extraordinary year of advocacy, voter engagement, and citizen education and celebrates the work of our local Leagues throughout the Commonwealth. Many thanks to our members and supporters for helping us Make Democracy Work!
ADVOCACY
What Is Automatic Voter Registration?
 
A bill proposing that Massachusetts adopt automatic voter registration (AVR), S.373/H.2091, is a legislative priority for LWVMA in this session of the legislature.

AVR is the next step in voting rights. It shifts voter registration from an opt-in system to an opt-out one. When eligible citizens interact with the Registry of Motor Vehicles or certain other state services agencies, they are automatically registered to vote unless they say no. They are notified by mail that they have been registered and can return that notification card to opt out or to enroll in a political party. It's estimated that 15% of eligible citizens in Massachusetts are not registered.

AVR first passed in 2015 in Oregon and went into effect in January 2016. Oregon added 225,000 residents to its voting rolls through that system and found that over 100,000 of those people voted in the November 2016 election.   California, Vermont, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Alaska by a ballot initiative have also passed AVR, and bills are pending in many other states. AVR passed in Illinois and New Jersey but was vetoed by those governors.

Using modern technology to process registrations should make voter rolls more accurate and cost effective. Databases and opt-out procedures will ensure that only those eligible will be registered. If someone is mistakenly registered, they will be not be penalized.
Webinar on the Economics of Carbon Pricing
 
League members are invited to join a webinar with Dr. Adele Morris, "An Economist's Perspective on Carbon Pricing," Tuesday, May 23, from 2 to 3 p.m.

RSVP here
to participate in the webinar; attendance is limited to 100 people. If you get a notice that the webinar is full, email Eleanor Revelle, to be put on a waiting list. If you register but cannot participate after all, email Eleanor Revelle so someone else can take your place.

This webinar is sponsored by the LWVUS 
Price on Carbon Steering Committee and PriceonCarbon.org, and you can find more information on carbon pricing at those links.

Dr. Morris is s
enior fellow and policy director for the climate and energy economics project at the Brookings Institution.  A recording of the first carbon pricing webinar, featuring science historian, geologist and author Dr. Naomi Oreskes, is available 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.

133 Portland Street Boston, MA 02114 | 617-523-2999
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