Voter Service Report 2019-2020

The League conducts outreach for voter registration and seeks to inform potential voters on how to register to vote, how to obtain absentee ballots in Massachusetts and in other states, and about Amherst’s new Council form of government. Voter information and registration assistance were provided at a climate change conference in June 2019, at the Town of Amherst Block Party in September, at the October Candidates Forum, and by reaching out to students with home room signups at the Amherst Regional High School in February. The Amherst Survival Center distributed postcards from the League on how to register online. All in person assistance was suspended in March 2020, following the shutdown of public events to control the spread of COVID 19. Since then, we have been tracking many changes to election procedures that have been proposed to make voting easier and safer this fall.

Other activities: LWVA co-sponsored a training program on ranked choice voting in September, and co-sponsored ‘How to talk so your Legislators will listen’, a talk by Nancy Brumback of LWVMA at Jones Library, October 19.

On Oct. 28, 2019, we held a Candidates Forum for 17 candidates for local office. Many thanks to the League members who helped with the program, to Becky Shannon from the Northampton League as our moderator, the Amherst Senior Center for their hospitality, and the technical experts of Amherst Media for recording and airing this important community forum!

Voter Service also published an Election Guide in the Nov. 1 Daily Hampshire Gazette listing positions of the candidates in the fall 2019 election. The only contested race was for School Committee. All other candidates for Library Trustee, Housing Authority and Oliver Smith Will Elector ran unopposed. A League information table was set up at Jones Library so that voters could examine sample ballots and candidate information. On November 5, Voter Service provided Precinct Runners to report voting tallies for election night coverage on Amherst Media.

Submitted by Bonnie Isman