Category: Elections and Voting

NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Releases Reproductive Freedom Scorecard

In this time of federal crisis, fundamental reproductive rights are at risk and the states play a key role in safeguarding those rights. The ongoing federal threat to reproductive freedom makes the critical work of the Massachusetts Legislature more important each day. Massachusetts voters need and deserve a transparent legislative scorecard to inform their understanding of where their elected officials stand on reproductive freedom. That’s why, today, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts released the first-ever Reproductive Freedom Scorecard for the 2017-2018 Legislative Session.

“This past legislative session, the Massachusetts Legislature responded to the threat posed by the Trump Administration with passage of key bills that safeguard and expand reproductive freedom in the Commonwealth.” said Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. “Next legislative session, we have the opportunity to pass bold legislation that affirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to reproductive freedom and guarantees that no matter what happens in Washington, the people of Massachusetts will be able to access the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including abortion care.”

“That’s why we are introducing the first-ever NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Reproductive Freedom Scorecard. The scorecard gives all Massachusetts citizens the opportunity see how their State Senators and Representatives voted on reproductive freedom during the most recent legislative session.”

“In our recent poll conducted by MassINC, we found that found that 8 in 10 Massachusetts voters want Roe v. Wade upheld. The Scorecard empowers Massachusetts citizens to understand which legislators are in-sync with the Commonwealth’s commitment to reproductive freedom and which legislators want to turn back the clock.”

In the interest of transparency, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is releasing the full scoring document. The scoring formula is simple: each legislator can receive a point for cosponsoring priority legislation or taking a pro-choice vote. Legislators can additionally earn points by being lead sponsors of priority legislation and advancing bills out of committee. Similarly, legislators lose a point for taking anti-choice votes or cosponsoring anti-choice legislation.

###

Are text-a-thons the future of activism? Cambridge’s Activist Afternoons thinks so.

Boxes of pizza, an aroma of hot coffee and smiling people invested in their phones filled a Cambridge workplace in the heart of Central Square yesterday, but the gathering wasn’t purely social.

As millions of Americans across the country prepared for the midterm elections by reading up on issues and candidates, over 160 volunteers in Cambridge spent the evening before Election Day encouraging voter participation at a text-a-thon hosted by Activist Afternoons.

The gathering was one of many the group has hosted since it launched in the fall of 2017. The first of three around the state, Activist Afternoons hosts weekly events with a different menu of activities – often including meetings, activist training sessions, and text-a-thons – for the Cambridge community at Workbar, a membership-based coworking space on Prospect Street.

Hustling young people to the polls

The members of the five national and local organizations present at the Nov. 5 text-a-thon used Hustle – the texting platform used for Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the 2016 presidential election. For three hours they sent personalized messages to registered voters, reminding them to vote on issues, political parties and candidates this Election Day.

Daniel Curtis, community organizer at Activist Afternoons, said the goal of Monday night’s text-a-thon was to motivate or remind residents of Cambridge and others nationwide to participate, especially younger voters.

“The main objective of tonight is to get in contact with as many people as possible and encourage them to vote, ” said Curtis. “A general concern we have is that, historically, young people are the least likely to vote.”

During the 2014 midterm elections, only 17.1 percent of eligible 18- to 24-year-olds showed up at the polls. That was less than half the turnout of the population at large – 41.9 percent of whom voted – according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 Current Population Survey.

Curtis said he thinks a significant cause of low turnout among young people is the fact that they have never voted before.

The future of activism?

With Gen-Xers and younger generations representing 59 percent of American adults eligible to vote as of April 2018, according to the Pew Research Center, text-a-thon volunteers were hoping that the last-minute mobilization of younger voters has a serious effect on election results.

Among the clicking, tapping and chattering volunteers was state Rep. Jay Livingstone, D-Boston, who opted to make calls rather than texting during the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. event.

“I couldn’t really figure out how to work the texting, so I went with calling,” laughed Livingstone.

Out of the five Democratic organizations represented at the text-a-thon, Livingstone chose to work with the Environmental Voter Project and Justice Democrats groups. He noted that one of the reasons Democratic organizations specifically tend to focus on mobilizing the younger generations is because they tend to be more worried about social issues and protecting the environment.

“Young people are more concerned about social and environmental issues,” said Livingstone, who represents parts of Cambridgeport as well as Boston. “The way we get the Democratic Party to where it needs to be is by convincing people to vote at events like this one.”

“Texting as a medium appeals to younger people and can easily reach tons of voters,” said Labandibar. “I think we will see more voters turn out as result of these texting events.”

Ian Anderson is a Boston University journalism student writing as part of a collaboration between the Cambridge Chronicle and BU News Service.

http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/news/20181106/are-text-a-thons-future-of-activism-cambridges-activist-afternoons-thinks-so

Hill Voters Still Have Early Voting Option

November 2, 2018

By 

Beacon Hill voters can cast their ballots in the Commonwealth’s general election at their assigned polling locations on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, or take advantage of early voting ending on Nov. 2.

Republican Charlie Baker will be seeking a second term as governor in the race against Democratic candidate Jay Gonzales, who served as the state’s secretary of administration and finance under Gov. Deval Patrick from 2009 to 2013, while KarynPolito, Baker’s Republican running mate in the reelection bid, is vying for her second term against Democratic challenger Quentin Palfrey, an attorney who worked as senior advisor for jobs and competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during President Barack Obama’s first term.

In the race for U.S. senator, incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Warren is running for a second term against Geoff Diehl, a Republican who represents the 7th Plymouth District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur running as an Independent.

 

Incumbent Democrat Maura Healy will face GOP challenger Jay McMahon, a Cape Cod attorney, in her bid for second term as attorney general, while Democrat Bill Galvin is seeking his sixth term as secretary of state against Republican Anthony Amore, director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Green-Rainbow candidate Juan Sanchez.

In the race for state treasurer. Democrat Deborah Goldberg is running for a second term against Keiko Orral, a Republican who serves in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and currently represents the 12th Bristol District in the General Court, and Green-Rainbow nominee Jamie Guerin.

Incumbent Democrat Suzanne Bump is seeking a third term as state auditor running against Republican Helen Brady, Libertarian Daniel Fishman and Green-Rainbow candidate Edward Stamas.

In the race for Suffolk County district attorney, Democratic candidate Rachael Rollins, former general counsel of the MBTA, will face Independent candidate Michael Maloney, a criminal defense attorney. Rollins has made waves during her campaign by vowing not to prosecute a list of 15 crimes if elected.

Meanwhile, the general election ballot also includes Question 1  – a proposed law that would limit the number of patients who could be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and other healthcare facilities; Question 2, which the secretary of the state’s website describes as a “proposed law would create a citizens commission to consider and recommend potential amendments to the [U.S.] Constitution to establish that corporations do not have the same Constitutional rights as human beings and that campaign contributions and expenditures may be regulated’; and Question 3, a “law [that] adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort or amusement.”

On November 6, Election Day, the polling location for voters for voters in Ward 3, Precinct 6 is Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square; for voters in Ward 5, Precinct 3 – the State House, 24 Beacon St.; Ward 5, Precinct 4 – the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St.; and Ward 5, Precincts 5 and 11 – Hill House Community Center, 127 Mt. Vernon St. All polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The state’s early voting period runs from Monday, Oct. 22, to Friday, Nov. 2. A Massachusetts state law passed in 2014 requires that cities and towns offer early voting for the general election every two years. The first early voting period was in 2016, so this year is only the second time the City is offering early voting.  Anyone who is registered to vote in Boston can take advantage of early voting in the city at any of the polling locations.

The main polling place in Boston is City Hall, though there are a number of pop-up locations throughout the city to make it more convenient for people to cast their ballot. This year, the city offered a full weekend of early voting on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28.

The most successful polling place over the weekend was the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library, bringing in 1339 voters on Saturday. Overall, there have been 15,603 early voters as of Oct. 29, according to the Election Department—and there are still two more days to go.

City Hall remains the main polling place, and will be open for voting from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, but there are also a few remaining pop-up locations. On Thursday, Nov. 1, polls will be open from noon-8 p.m. at: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, the ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, and The Blue Hills Collaborative.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone, who also supports early voting, said he hopes that the initiative makes it easier for people to access their right to vote and subsequently leads to higher voter turnout.

As for the ballot questions, Livingstone expects Question 3 will do “overwhelmingly well.” He added, “I’m pleased that the voters have upheld civil rights granted to transgender people in 2016 with the legislation that I actively supported.”

Also, Livingstone applauded Rachael Rollins as candidate for Suffolk County district attorney, adding that he “look[s] forward to the benefits to our criminal justice system and society as we encourage treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration.”

Livingstone also predicts that Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy will “blow it out of the water” in their respective races for reelection as state senator and district attorney.

“It’s great working with Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy, and I’m pleased that voters are returning them to office,” Livingstone said. “I’m grateful for people’s continued faith in me to serve them in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to this new term.”

Kenzie Bok, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, also expects that Warren will handily win her bid for a new term while adding that she is encouraged by Jay Gonzales’ and Quentin Palfrey’s hard work on the campaign trail.

“Jay Gonzales and Quentin Palfrey are really doing a great job raising important issues and challenges in Massachusetts and… by not giving Charlie Baker a free pass,” Bok s aid. “The overall direction that the Republican party is taking the county in is disturbing and worrisome… so we still hope on Tuesday, the people will send [Baker] a message.”

Bok said the Ward 5 Dems are pleased with the return of early voting, which they hope will be available in all elections going forward.

“As far as increasing participation, early voting really moves the needle forward the most when combined with same-day registration, so that is hopefully something we can get in next election cycle,” Bok added.

Bok is also encouraged by the many people in their 20s and 30s who were engaged politically for the first time during this election, volunteering for campaigns and taking an active part in the process.

“It’s exciting…and this activation will matter a lot for future elections,” Bok said.

Endorsements for Re-Election on November 6, 2018

I am pleased to announce that the following organizations have endorsed my candidacy for re-election:

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund

Sierra Club of Massachusetts

Environmental League of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Peace Action

SEIU, Local 509

Carmen’s Union, Local 589

Iron Workers, Local 7

Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers’ District Council

Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee

Boston Ward 4 Democratic Committee

Mom’s Demand Action Candidate of Distinction (this organization does not endorse)

190th Session Recap: Elections Laws and Reform

190th Session Recap: Election Laws

H.4834 – An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud

Overview:

  • This was an important priority for Jay, who co-sponsored this bill and advocated for it.
  • Directs the Secretary of State to work with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and MassHealth to automatically enroll eligible individuals to the Commonwealth’s voter rolls.
  • Secretary of State will adopt regulations governing the AVR system, including provisions requiring electronic transmission, data security protocols, and integration with online portals.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

To read the full text of the bill, click here.