by Sharyn Roberts and Sue Flicop
This past fall was an exciting election season and with a series of Candidates’ Forums as well as a new format for our Voters Guide.
With 12 contested races, we had two certified candidates withdraw their names before the deadline and one write-in candidate announce her run after the deadline. LWVN determined that the write-in candidate met the standard set by LWVUS to be invited to join in LWVN voter service activities.
Newton had a preliminary election for Mayor, and LWVN held a Candidates’ Forum with our partner, NewTV, for all seven candidates. The September preliminary election reduced the number of candidates to two: Ruthanne Fuller and Scott Lennon.
LWVN, in partnership with NewTV, held eleven Candidates’ Forums, starting on September 25th. A forum for the Ward 1 Ward Councilor seat was not held, as the candidate Franco Cedrone declined to participate. Additionally, Jay Ciccone, Councilor and candidate for Ward 1 At-Large City Council seat, has also declined to join the forum for that seat. That forum, for the at-large seat, was still held because all three other candidates have chosen to attend.
All forums were recorded at NewTV studios and aired by the station throughout the election season. The programs were also available on NewTV.org—look for the “Newton Vote” section of their website at newtv.org.
This year, LWVN participates in VOTE411, an online Voters Guide that was created by LWV. We invited ALL candidates, even those who are not in contested races, to answer three questions that were of concern to our community. That was available to all Newton voters on October 10th by going to vote411.com and entering in a Newton address.
LWVN had a booth at all the Newton Farmers Markets, Village Days, and some school fairs registering voters who are new to Newton or who have reached age 16 and are participating in the state’s pre-registration. We also did a “brisk business” in absentee ballot applications for those voters who were not in town either for the Preliminary Election on September 12th or for the Municipal Election on November 7th. We were also educating the public in cooperation with the “YES” Committee on the November ballot question determining whether Newton should update the current Newton City Charter.
Sue Rosenbaum and Sharyn Roberts also spent an evening in August teaching some of the people at the Tosteson Medical Education Center at the Harvard Medical School how to run voter registrations.
We also provided rides to the polls for election workers and voters during the Preliminary on September 12th and and again on Tuesday, November 7th, Election Day.
LWVN also participated in National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 26th by registering students at Newton North High School in the morning in conjunction with Terry Yoffie and the adults and students of the NNHS Center for Civic Engagement and Service; and at the Cold Spring Farmers Market all afternoon. We registered and pre-registered students at Newton South High School the next week.
Our work continues! If you are interested in helping register voters, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.