Early voting in Massachusetts is officially open! At our Community Meeting last week, we learned that thanks to new legislation passed last year, registered voters have 11 days to vote in our state. Some polling locations are even open evening and weekend hours. This policy change will foster more equitable access to the right to vote especially for people who cannot get to a poll on Election Day due to limited work flexibility, child care, or other challenging life circumstances exacerbated by homelessness.
Voting this fall is not just about voting for our next President, though this is a major responsibility not to be understated. There are also 4 or more (depending on where you live) ballot questions addressing issues ranging from raising the cap on charter schools to legalizing marijuana.
There’s still time to learn more about the ballot questions and share critical information with families you may be working with!
We urge you to learn more about the issues and get this information into the hands of families. If you can, organize child care and/or transportation to get families to the polls between now and Nov. 4th (when early voting ends) and/or on Nov. 8th (Election day)!
Get out the vote events and even parties are being planned by community organizations. At our last Community Meeting we learned about those being planned in Boston, but please share any efforts you know of in other areas (#VoteHousingSolutions). In Boston there is now a “universal ballot” and registered voters can vote in ANY PRECINCT they like. See MassVOTE’s fact sheet on early voting in Boston, their call to action in support of the city-wide event planned for this Saturday October 29th, and their registration page for those interested in volunteering to get out the vote.
At our last Community Meeting MassVOTE and Boston Tenant’s Coalition shared important information and materials on the get out the vote effort and ballot questions. Here are some basic information and resources about voting and ballot questions to share with families and staff:
- Registered voters may vote early between October 24th and November 4th. Go here for early voting locations and more.
- Election day is November 8th.
- Check out MassVOTE’s nonpartisan fact sheet on the ballot questions to learn about what a no versus yes vote would mean. For even more detail on ballot questions and more, see the 2016 Information for Voters guide created by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Francis Galvin’s office.
- Share and post the MA voters’ bill of rights below.
A Shout Out for the Community Preservation Act (Question 5): The Community Preservation Act (CPA)(Question 5 in Boston, Chelsea, Holyoke and Springfield ONLY), squarely falls within the realm of housing. A yes vote would create thousands of affordable housing units through a small real estate tax (that does not affect renters) matched by a statewide trust fund. While the CPA would primarily fund low-income affordable housing, it would also go towards parks, playgrounds and historic preservation. You can volunteer for the “Yes for a Better Boston Campaign” in support of Question 5 by going to YESBetterBoston.org or contacting 617.423.8609.
Especially for families that are underrepresented by elected officials and misrepresented in the public eye, voting is an opportunity to step into the power and value that you hold. We need your votes and voices to improve our policies and create a state, and a nation, that is designed to benefit us all. Please, get out and vote, support families you are working with to get out and vote, and promote the get out the vote effort on social media! #VoteHousingSolutions
-Liz Peck, Director of Operations and Member Engagement