Category Archives: Elections

Automatic Voter Registration bill

election

From the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts –

 

Leaders and advocates voice support for modernizing elections in Massachusetts

 

BOSTON, MA — Advocates for modernizing Massachusetts’ elections showed up in force for a hearing on Beacon Hill today, held by the Joint Committee on Election Laws. The hearing was in support of the Automatic Voter Registration bill, which would establish a system for eligible citizens in Massachusetts to automatically register to vote when they interact with a state agency like the registry of motor vehicles. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Peter Kocot, has popular support in both houses; with 80 House co-sponsors and 22 Senate sponsors as of hearing time.

 

More than twenty leaders from the labor movement, universities, environmental groups, political organizations, civil rights and good government advocacy organizations testified on behalf of the legislation, while dozens of supporters looked on. Many spoke of how automatic voter registration ensures that all eligible citizens in Massachusetts have the opportunity to participate in elections.

 

“By passing automatic voter registration, Massachusetts can lead the way towards giving all citizens a voice in their government,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “The system would give the nearly 700,000 eligible citizens that are not registered to vote an opportunity to have their voices heard through our election process. At the same time, Automatic Voter Registration would update and modernize our election system by increasing the accuracy, security, and efficiency of the process.”

 

Eight states and the District of Columbia have already passed automatic voter registration, all in a bipartisan manner: Oregon, California, West Virginia, Alaska, Vermont, Colorado, Georgia, and Connecticut. In Oregon, the first state to implement Automatic Voter Registration, 230,000 voters registered in its first six months and more than 500,000 inaccurate registrations were updated. About 100,000 (97,000) voters participated in the 2016 election because of the reform.

 

Representatives from several other leading citizen organizations testified for the bill, including Nancy Brumback, Legislative Action Chair of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “The League strongly supports automatic voter registration as the next logical step in the modernization of the electoral process here in Massachusetts,” she said.  “AVR will improve the accuracy of voter rolls, create a more efficient and reliable voting system, help control the costs of voter registration over time, and improve the voting process on Election Day.”

 

Cheryl Clyburn Crawford of MassVOTE said, “Automatic voter registration is a step in the right direction to removing one of the barriers that disproportionately affects our most disenfranchised communities. It is our strong belief that automatic voter registration in Massachusetts will increase voter participation and turnout while continuing to modernize our electoral process.”

 

“…Our Commonwealth must set an example on voting rights for the nation to follow,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy in written testimony submitted to the Committee. “We need to prove how strong a system can be when it is inclusive, progressive and fair. The rollout of early voting in 2016 was an enormous success, with over one million residents casting early ballots. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) must come next.”

 

“This is a bipartisan, common sense, 21st century bill which will make voter registration more accessible, more secure and less costly in the Commonwealth,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “We have Republican and Democrat supporters in the Legislature here, the Republican Governor of Illinois indicated that he would sign similar bill into law that passed the legislature unanimously a few weeks ago, and in a time of hyper-partisanship in this country we’re inspired to call for this bill’s passage.”

 

Advocacy organizations behind the effort, including Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, Progressive Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice have worked together for many years to promote voting access and reform. They see automatic voter registration as a continuation of earlier efforts in the state, like early voting, to improve access to the ballot. Early voting was a resounding success; In its first debut, over one million voters cast their ballots early in October 2016, accounting for over 22% of registered voters and 35% of those that voted.

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Affordable Housing Trust $1m. bond passed

The Medfield Press reports that the $1m. bond to provide working monies for the Affordable Housing Trust passed yesterday – the article is linked to here – http://medfield.wickedlocal.com/news/20170605/medfield-passes-affordable-housing-override

affordable-housing

Medfield passes affordable housing override

Medfield voters easily passed a tax override in Monday’s special election, with 904 votes for and 180 against.

 

Election Monday

Ballot Monday on $1m. bond to fund the Affordable Housing Trust

The Town of Medfield has an election next Monday on the Proposition 2 1/2 override we already voted on positively at the annual town meeting (ATM).  We have an election Monday because proposition 2 1/2 overrides have to pass at both a town meeting and by a ballot.

I had two residents ask at my office hours this morning what the election Monday was about, so hence this explanation.

The $1m. bond the election seeks to fund provides monies to the newly created Affordable Housing Trust, and those monies can be used by the Affordable Housing Trust to assist future affordable housing projects in town to get completed.

The one example where those monies could already have assisted the town, if we had had the monies available, was to bridge a funding gap for a community mental health center that was looking to buy a house in town in which to site a group home, but their finances were about $100,000 short of the price at which a suitable house recently sold.  If the Affordable Housing Trust had then existed and had available monies to assist, it may have offered to provide funds to bridge the financial gap.  That group home would have netted the town five affordable units (SHI), as each bed in a group home counts as one SHI.

The $1m. that a positive outcome in the election Monday funds will provided the needed flexibility to make some affordable housing projects actually happen that the town will want.  To keep the town in a safe harbor the town needs to build twenty-one SHI per year for the next eight years, as we are short about 160 SHI to be at 10%.  We also need to build extras, as a new higher number of units in town will result from the 2020 census, on which the Department of Housing and Community Development will base our new 10% safe harbor number.

That $1m. can also pay a staff person that the town needs to have working on developing affordable housing, if we want to get to the 10% safe harbor that will allow the town to say no to unfriendly 40B’s.  Hiring a staff person will save us money over continuing to pay our current affordable housing consultants.

Below is a flyer about the election from the hugely active Dale Street neighborhood group that mobilized around the Mega-B –

20170605-M-RAH-Vote Yes Flyer

 

6/5/17 ballot to fund the AHT

At the annual town meeting (ATM) we voted to create an Affordable Housing Trust and to fund it with $1m. by means of a bond.  Where that funding is a Proposition 2 1/2 override, it also needs to be approved by an election ballot.  That special election will be held on June 5, 2017, and this is the ballot.

20170605-election ballot

State Senate sets election – primary 9/19 & election 10/17

From the State House News, courtesy of John Nunnari –

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STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MAY 4, 2017….The new Norfolk County treasurer, James Timilty, resigned from the Senate on Wednesday evening, and the Senate on Thursday set an Oct. 17 special election to elect a successor to the Walpole Democrat.

First elected to the Senate in 2004, Timilty accepted appointment to the county post in April when the former treasurer, Joseph Connolly, submitted his resignation. His resignation will leave his district without representation during this month’s expected debate on the fiscal 2018 Senate budget bill.

Timilty also co-chaired the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and the Public Service Committee, leadership slots that Senate President Stanley Rosenberg will need to fill.

Secretary of State William Galvin announced that the primary will be held Sept. 19, and the deadline for submitting nomination papers to local registrars of voters is Aug. 8.

The southeastern Massachusetts district includes Foxborough, Mansfield, Medfield, Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Walpole and portions of Attleboro and Sharon.

The district is one where a Republican candidate could have a shot at winning. With the exception of Medfield and Sharon, President Donald Trump gave Democrat Hillary Clinton a strong challenge throughout the Senate district last November. Trump defeated Clinton in the town of Rehoboth, and lost to Clinton in the district by 9,752 votes of nearly 89,437 cast. Clinton won the Senate district with 50.5 percent of the vote to Trump’s 39.6 percent.

According to the Sun Chronicle, Mansfield Republican Rep. Jay Barrows opted against a run and Rep. Steven Howitt of Seekonk is leaning against running.

On the Democratic side, legislative aide Ted Philips, of Sharon, and Paul Feeney, a Foxborough Democrat and lobbyist for an electrical workers union, are running. Former WBZ-TV reporter Joe Shortsleeve, a Medfield Democrat, is also getting in the race, according to the Sun Chronicle.

Voters in Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn and parts of Lexington are set to hold a July 25 special election to choose a senator to succeed the late Sen. Ken Donnelly, who was assistant majority leader in the Senate.

END
05/04/2017

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Candidate Forum at 6:30PM on 3/16 at MHS

Get to know the candidates:

  1. At The Center at Medfield from 5-7 p.m., March 8, for the FOSI “Meet and Greet”
  2. Medfield.TV videos on each of the candidates at http://www.medfield.tv/video-on-demand.
  3. Candidate Forum in the MHS Lowell Mason Auditorium 6:30PM on March 16

vote.2

Medfield Candidate Forum is Thursday, March 16 – Community members are invited to submit questions

 

Between Board of Selectman, School Committee and Library Trustee, Medfield has three contested races for this year’s election – it might even be a record!

 

In an effort to help educate voters before heading to the polls on Monday, March 27, a Voters Services Committee has organized a Medfield Candidate Forum in the MHS Lowell Mason Auditorium on the evening of Thursday, March 16.

 

The forum, sponsored by Hometown Weekly, kicks off with a reception in the lobby at 6:30 p.m., followed by the forum at 7 p.m. Through pre-submitted questions posed by moderator Richard DeSorgher, the Q&A portion will focus exclusively on the BOS and School Committee races. Library Trustee candidates will also be present, but will only present short prepared remarks. The evening is scheduled to end at about 8:30 p.m. Plans are also in development to provide attendees with information about the marijuana ballot question.

 

Anyone interested in submitting anonymous candidate questions for the forum can use this link:  http://www.hometownweekly.net/medfield/medfield-candidate-forum-seeks-questions/. Members of the Voters Services Committee, comprised of former Medfield League of Women Voter members and residents involved in civic affairs, will screen questions primarily for duplication and clarity.

 

All Medfield residents are encouraged not only to attend the Forum on March 16, but to also stop into the Center at Medfield from 5-7 p.m., March 8, for the FOSI “Meet and Greet” with all candidates. http://patch.com/massachusetts/medfield/fosi-hosting-candidate-meet-greet.

 

Medfield.TV and MHS students have also created videos on each of the candidates that you can find here:  http://www.medfield.tv/video-on-demand.

 

Get ready for a busy election season!

ATM warrant articles

town meeting

At our selectmen meeting last night, Mike Sullivan shared his latest draft of the current forty-four annual town meeting (ATM) warrant articles.  I scanned and attached it –  20170221-warrant-articles

The town administration, the Warrant Committee, and the Board of Selectmen are still working through the warrant articles to refine what gets presented to the ATM.  Mike reported that the school budget is now down to a 4.9% increase, which will require an override vote, which would be held after the ATM.  Currently additional articles that will require overrides are implementing advanced life support (ALS) and funding of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund with the suggested $1m.