Monday, October 22- Friday, November 2
Early voting period for Massachusetts general election
Friday, October 26 LWVMA Board Meeting, Acton Memorial Library, 11:00 a.m. 
Monday, October 29 "Voting in the Midterms: Impediments and Policies that Get Voters to the Polls" Webinar featuring Professor Erin O'Brien, from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, November 6 Massachusetts general election 
From Our President

Dear League Members,                

Professor Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die, speaking at our April conference, warned that the norms and institutions of our democracy are under threat, and that our partisan environment is softening "the guardrails of our democracy." That image of the car fishtailing into the guardrails and then veering off the road has stayed with me these last few months, and most acutely during these last two months and the events leading up to the November mid-terms. Maybe some of you have thought of it too.

A report last month from a bi-partisan National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy, assembled by the Brennan Center, used some of the same language. "The values that undergird American democracy are being tested. . . Our republic has long relied not just on formal laws and the Constitution, but also on unwritten rules and norms that constrain the behavior of public officials. These guardrails, often invisible, curb abuses of power." Read more...
LWVMA Hosts Webinar on Barriers to Voting Oct. 29

Want to to better understand the barriers to voting here in Massachusetts?  Eager to learn how to get out the vote?  Join LWVMA for "  Voting in the Midterms:  Impediments and Policies that Get Voters to the Polls ," a webinar with Professor Erin O'Brien, University of Massachusetts Boston, Monday, October 29, 5:30-6:30 Register to participate in the webinar here.
Why Did You Join the League? Share Your Reason!

As part of LWVMA's 100th Anniversary celebration, we are inviting Massachusetts League members to submit a short video -- a "vlog"-- that completes the following question: "I joined the League of Women Voters because...."

These videos are meant to share one of your personal reasons for joining the League. We hope to hear from as many voices as possible!  Throughout the year, we will roll your reasons out on our website and social media outlets under the hashtag #100Reasons.

Join us in starting the celebration of the League's 100th Anniversary! Here are the simple instructions for creating your 15-second video, sample videos, and instructions for sending it to us.

Deadline for submitting your vlog to is Saturday, Dec. 15!

Questions? Contact Meryl Kessler or Kate Boland.
2018 League Leaders Lunch Explores Partnerships, Governance

The October 20, 2018 League Leaders Lunch in Harvard brought together 66 leaders from around the state for a day of learning and sharing.  The day's agenda included an update on what's been happening at LWVMA and LWVUS, presentations on League advocacy and voter service, a preview of the Ballot Question study, and an interactive exercise to generate ideas related to the League's 100th anniversary and expanding our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Read More...
LWVMA Honored By MassVote

MassVOTE, the Boston voting rights organization, recently honored LWVMA and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition as their 2018 Champions of Democracy for our work in bringing Automatic Voter Registration to Massachusetts.  Executive Director Meryl Kessler was proud to accept the award for LWVMA. We thank MassVOTE and congratulate all of our coalition partners!

It's a "Twofer"--Support LWVMA and Your Local League!

As attacks on our democratic norms and institutions escalate in Washington, many of the best opportunities to fight back exist at the state and local level.  That is why LWVMA is at the forefront of bold efforts to strengthen democracy right here in Massachusetts , including leading the successful effort to pass Automatic Voter Registration--a game-changer!

In addition, to encourage voter participation and informed choice, we have launched MOVE 2018, a statewide initiative that includes our online voters' guide, public service announcements from our student video contest, other voter information materials and candidates' forums. LWVMA is also supporting the startup of several new Leagues around the state.

Now we need your help. By supporting our Fall Appeal, you will sustain the essential work of LWVMA and earn money for your own League.  If we receive your donation of $100 or more by Wednesday, Oct. 31, your local League will receive 15% of your donation; for donations of less than $100 received by Oct. 31, your local League will receive 10%. And if you donate now, you won't be called during our Phonathon later this year.

To donate online, please click here. To donate by mail, please print and enclose this form with your check. 
LWVMA Online Voters Guide Is Live!, LWVMA's in-depth and comprehensive online voters' guide, is now live for the Nov. 6 election. Please help publicize this unique, interactive resource on local League websites and Facebook pages, through letters to the editor, and by distributing cards or bookmarks promoting the web address. provides voters with a personalized ballot with information on the three statewide ballot questions, as well as on candidates in the U.S. Senate, Congressional, Governor/Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, state legislative, District Attorney, County Commissioner, Governor's Council, Clerk of Courts, and Register of Deeds races.
You Can Vote Early! 
Early voting in Massachusetts began Monday, Oct. 22 and ends Friday, Nov. 2. Help spread the word to your friends and via social media. Early voting times and polling places for every city and town can be found at the Secretary of State website here.
Candidate Forum Information
Did you miss a candidate forum? LWVMA is collecting links to videos of candidate forums sponsored by local Leagues and posting them on the website here. There is also a list of upcoming candidates' forums and debates. Please share this information.
Help Engage Voters
Share our Award-Winning "Get in the Game and Vote" Videos. Last spring nearly 300 Massachusetts students participated in our High School Student Video contest, creating 30-second public service announcements encouraging young adults to register to vote and turn out at the polls.  

Thirteen of the winning videos are now available.  We will publicize the videos through print media and send them to high schools and colleges and to cable television outlets.  We will post them on Facebook and Twitter, and we urge you to do the same. 
National Voter Registration Day
Once again, the League of Women Voters was the key participant in National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 26, with over 400 state and local Leagues holding voter registration events in over 40 states.  Local Leagues all around Massachusetts participated.  The Boston LWV registered over 200 people at Massachusetts General Hospital that day!  And Google invited LWVMA to come register voters at its office in Cambridge.

Does LWVMA Support Ranked Choice Voting?
Ranked choice voting (RCV) has been getting a lot of publicity, including editorials in the Boston Globe  here and here, and New York Times here, in the wake of the crowded Democratic primary election in the Third Congressional District and Maine voters' repeat decision in June to support it (backed by LWV Maine).

In 2005, LWVMA adopted a position calling for winners in single-seat elections to receive a majority of the votes, and that, if no candidate received an outright majority of the votes, the majority should be determined by what was then called instant runoff voting and is now called ranked choice voting.

Some League members have raised questions about the wording of that position, so we went back and looked at the study that led to the position, and the board has issued a clarification of the position based on the study wording, which is included with the position. You can find the position and clarification in Where We Stand, on page 15.
League Stands On November Ballot Questions
Three ballot questions will be on the statewide ballot Nov. 6. LWVMA supports a YES vote on Questions 2 and 3. Below are the questions, in the order they appear on the ballot, and our stands.
  • Question 1: Patient-to-nurse limits. LWVMA takes no stand on this ballot question.
  • Question 2: Commission on Limiting Election Spending and Corporate Rights. LWVMA urges a YES vote.  
  • Question 3: Transgender anti-discrimination. LWVMA urges a YES vote.
For a description of these ballot questions and the League's reasons for its stands, see the article on our website here.
Citizen Initiative Review - How 20 Ordinary Citizens Can Inform Your Vote
LWVMA president Mary Ann Ashton helped staff the Citizen Initative Review. Here is her first-hand report.
If you're like most voters, you are just turning your attention to the three questions on your November 6 ballot. And after reading the question summaries or watching TV advertising, you may still be confused. What if there were a better way to find out what you need to know about each question? Oregon uses a process called the Citizen Initiative Review to develop the voter information for each question, and we could do that in Massachusetts too. For now, we have a pilot project which used this process to develop information on Question 1, patient-to-nurse limits.

Twenty ordinary citizens, demographically representing the population of Massachusetts, were selected to convene for four days in early September as part of the pilot. (For more information about how they were selected and other details of the project, you can visit Facilitators working with Oregon-based Healthy Democracy first trained the participants in several techniques of deliberative democracy. They learned how they would work in groups, developed ground rules, determined the criteria they would use to evaluate strong and reliable claims, and how to develop strong questions. After practicing with these tools, they heard from a panel of proponents and opponents on Question 1, who each provided information to the panelists. Read more... 
Registering Voters-in Jail
By Colleen Kirby
LWV of Arlington and LWVMA Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Specialist

At noon on Aug. 29, Mary Cummings and I, from LWV Arlington, and BallotsOverBars member Elly Kalfus, met up with Brendan Kennedy of the Middlesex Sheriff's Office in the Middlesex Jail and House of Corrections main office. After turning in our drivers' licenses and going through security screening, we took the bus to the main facility. Inside a classroom we waited for our first group of seven men who were awaiting trial to come in and fill out absentee ballot request forms. In Massachusetts, if a person is held in custody, he does not have to be a registered voter in order to request a ballot because the state knows his identity. Most of the men were already registered to vote, but two filled out registration forms.

One was very excited to be requesting a ballot. He told us this was his first time ever voting, and he was 52. After these men returned to their living pods, three men who were serving time in the House of Corrections for misdemeanor offenses came in to fill out their absentee ballot requests. We were able to answer questions about choosing a ballot, whether for Republican, Democratic or Libertarian primary candidates. Read more...
New LWVMA Office and Phone Number
LWVMA's office has moved to 90 Canal Street, Suite 414, Boston, MA 02114 in Boston.  The email address remains  The new phone number is 857-452-1715.
Don't forget to vote Tuesday, November 6!
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.

90 Canal Street, Suite 414, Boston, MA 02114 | 857-452-1715 |