The 2022-23 Working Groups are moving forward on program priorities approved at Annual Meeting in June 2022 and formulated at Opening Meeting in September. League members have the opportunity to influence the selection of issues and join a group. We welcome new members as we plan and execute public forums, informational meetings, community events, and campaigns.
At LWV-AA’s Fall Member Meeting in September, the Voter Engagement breakout group laid out an ambitious 3-pronged program for the year with the focus on:
Spring Municipal Elections
“Get Involved Program” encouraging citizens to get involved in local government by joining town boards and committees
Candidate Forums: Two in-person regional Candidate Forums co-sponsored with the Concord-Carlisle League for the 14th Middlesex District for the Primary and the November election. Replays of the forums are available on local Cable TV.
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter postings kept our followers informed on key dates and voter information.
Vote Signs: “Vote Tuesday” signs could be seen the week prior to the Primary and the Election
Spring Municipal Elections
Historically, participation in municipal elections is low, often fewer than 14% of registered voters bother to turn out. We will be doing a combination of the following activities to increase interest in getting out the vote:
In-person Candidate Forums when there is competition
Candidate Speed-Dating – event where candidates circulate among tables of citizens
Candidate videos, written questionnaires, meet and greet at Town Hall
“Get Involved Program”
There’s a need in our member towns for more citizens to run for office and serve on local boards and committees, the GIT program will:
Gather information on boards and committees: elected or appointed; responsibilities; qualifications, etc. and make it easily available
Define the journey – a process for getting involved
If any of these activities look interesting to you, please join the Voter Engagement Group. In addition to getting a lot done, we have a good time while we do it. Facilitator: Marilyn Peterson email@example.com
During our Fall Member Meeting, one of the groups discussed ideas for Citizen Education. The topic that garnered the most enthusiasm was a discussion about the challenges posed for communities by the lack of local newspapers. A working group has begun work on this topic, but it’s not too late to join if you’re interested.
The purpose of the working group is first, to plan one or more forums to educate the public and LWV-Acton Area members about the problems created in our communities by a decline in available community newspapers and hear about possible solutions. Second, following research and discussion, the group will identify recommendations for the Steering Committee to consider possible solutions for one or more of our area towns.
At our first meeting, we discussed some of the recent developments as Gannett has ceased printing newspapers in many of our towns. Participants talked about things they had learned about other towns’ efforts through two forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. Others shared the history of independent newspapers that have come and gone in Acton, while noting that Stow continues to have an independent newspaper. Others were intrigued by the efforts of Concord and Bedford residents to launch and sustain a local newspaper. Others pointed out that we need to understand better how people are currently getting their news about local issues, and possibly consider a survey to gather this information. At the end of our discussion, we agreed to do some homework to help us think about ideas for a forum or two that we could offer to League and community members that would add to the conversation.
If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Mary Ann Ashton firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to our next meeting.