Voter Engagement activity was high during 2021-2022 since all of Amherst’s elected officials were up for election in fall of 2021. Cynthia Brubaker led the team that organized nine candidate forums that ran from October 7 to October 21. These programs were broadcast live online via Zoom for public participation. Later, hundreds of viewers watched the recordings of the candidate events which were posted on the League’s web site by our webmaster Kathy Campbell. All candidates were surveyed with specific questions related to League programs. Their responses were collected and distributed in the 2022 Voters Guide, edited by a team coordinated by Bonnie Isman. The Voters Guide was available on the League website and distributed to local homes in the Amherst Bulletin.
Health regulations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic again restricted Voter Registration activity. Many outdoor events like the downtown Block Party were cancelled. In September, we celebrated National Voter Registration Day by distributing voting information outside of Jones Library. The Pleasant Street banner and yard signs again reminded voters to ‘Vote, It Counts!’ during October. Voter registration information was also available at the May reception for CRESS and DEI staff at Groff Park.
League members had a special opportunity in April to speak to and hear from Congressman Jim McGovern at an online event organized by Cynthia Brubaker. Congressman McGovern spoke about national attempts at voter suppression as well as local challenges facing our democracy. He inspired us to speak up and to continue to defend both voters’ rights and election integrity.
With the expiration of temporary emergency legislation that enabled vote by mail and early voting in Massachusetts during the pandemic, LWVMA and LWV Amherst joined the fight for permanent election reform through adoption of the VOTES Act. As of early June, it looks clear that vote by mail and early voting will soon be fully enacted for all future elections.