History and Achievements

2014

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Election Reform Bill signed into law, bringing online voter registration, audits post-election of voting machines, pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, and early voting to Massachusetts.

The SuperPAC Disclosure Bill becomes law, requiring SuperPACs to disclose their donors in a timely manner so voters know what interests are behind their spending.

-The Bilingual Ballot Bill for Boston, signed into law, ensuring for Chinese and Vietnamese speaking citizens.

-MassVOTE partners with The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in hosting the National Commission on Voting Rights New England hearing to discuss Boston’s voting challenges.

2013

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-Convened Election Modernization Coalition of 45 community organizations.

-Organized a Lobby Day at the State House with more than 100 participants speaking directly to their elected officials.

-Successfully saw both Massachusetts Senators Warren and Markey sign on as co-sponsors to a bill proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision.

-MassVOTE hosts six community forums for the U.S. Senate, Mayor of Boston, and City Council seats.

2012

Corporations are not people

-Secretary of State Galvin posts downloadable, printable Voter Registration Forms, modernizing elections in Massachusetts (August).

-The State House and the State Senate both passed resolutions calling on Congress to move an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations can spend unlimited money in elections (July).

-Pre-registration bill passes in the House, paving the way for election modernization and young voter engagement in Massachusetts by allowing sixteen- and seventeen-year olds to pre-register to vote. However, the bill fails to make it to the floor of the Senate (May-July).

-Boston City Council Unanimously Calls for an Amendment to Get Corporate Money Out Politics, Restore Democracy to the People (February).

2011

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-State House agrees to unprecedented public participation in redistricting (January).

State Legislature passes new redistricting law, doubling districts where people of color have clout (December).

-City of Boston passes Home Rule to fix district lines for voters (October).

-Pressured by MassVOTE, Secretary of State clamps down on unfair challenges to Latino voters (April).

-“Show ID to Vote” Initiative Petition ruled unconstitutional by Massachusetts Attorney General after MassVOTE action (September).

-MassVOTE co-director Avi Green Appointed by Governor Patrick to Key State Committees to Protect Voting Rights.

-MassVOTE co-director Avi Green Honored by Boston NAACP.

2010

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-National Popular Vote bill passes in Massachusetts.

-MassVOTE brings nonprofits together to educate voters, coalition wins 2 major ballot fights for social services, affordable housing, protecting $1.5 billion in services.

-MassVOTE helps non-profits and service agencies across the state reach out to their constituents to make sure they are counted in the 2010 Federal Census ensuring that communities have equal political representation and get the federal money they deserve.

-Pre-registration for 16 and 17 year-olds is successfully voted out of the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Laws.

2009

We Need Two Rally Sept 2009 with Crystal

-Veteran Voting Support Act passes, letting overseas service members send in scans of ballots via fax or email.

MassVOTE leads successful coalition to seat an interim US Senator for Massachusetts, vote proves pivotal.

2008

Today is Election Day

-On November 4, Boston saw the highest turnout since the 1960s. MassVOTE held a huge Get Out the Vote and Election Protection efforts.

Election Day Registration is successfully passed of the State Senate, 33-5, before being stopped in the State House.

-February’s Presidential Primary sees the highest turnout in two decades.

-MassVOTE holds Eye on Democracy Video Contest, encouraging amateur filmmakers to document people’s voting experiences.

-MassVOTE works with Suffolk University to develop a new poll worker training, and helps recruit young, people, bilingual people, and people of color to be poll workers.

2007

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-MassVOTE creates Young Civic Leaders, a high school peer-to-peer organizing and leadership development project focused on Boston.

-MassVOTE partners with a Latino civic organization, Oisté, and Suffolk University to create the Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership, a program that aims to give 30 people of color per year the campaign skills, policy knowledge, and network needed to help them seek elected or appointed office within the next 3 to 5 years.

2006

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-Former MassVOTE staff members create NonprofitVote, which helps nonprofit organizations nationwide replicate the MassVOTE nationwide.

-MassVOTE sponsors a gubernatorial forum at Roxbury Community College. Over 700 attend.

-The City of Boston runs out of ballots in the General Election in 33 precincts.  Some voters have to wait more than an hour to vote.  The City response is slow until MassVOTE emergency calls to the press lead to police escorts delivering the much-needed ballots, sirens blazing. After the election, MassVOTE works with the City to revise poll worker training procedures to prevent a recurrence.

2005

-Results of the 2004 election observation project are released, and MassVOTE calls for Election Day Registration. Secretary of State Bill Galvin criticizes the validity of MassVOTE’s analysis and opposes the legislation.

The Department of Justice brings a lawsuit against the City of Boston.  As part of a settlement, MassVOTE is given a seat on the Mayor’s Elections Advisory Committee.  A variety of commitments are made to ensure equal treatment for voters who speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish, and Haitian Creole, including bilingual ballots.

2004

-MassVOTE and other groups send out 600 volunteers who monitor 41,753 voters in urban communities across Massachusetts.  3,643 voters (8.7%) were not allowed to cast a regular ballot on their first try.

2003

-Thanks to a competitive district race and comprehensive voter engagement efforts by groups funded and trained through MassVOTE’s Civic Engagement Initiative, turnout in majority-African American Mattapan surges 53% in local city council elections.

2002-2004

-MassVOTE and other groups file a redistricting lawsuit against State House Speaker Tom Finneran.  The federal court rules Finneran had unlawfully packed black voters into a single Mattapan district in order to significantly “whiten” 3 others, including his own district. The court orders district lines redrawn.  As a result of his testimony, the Speaker is indicted for perjury and decides not to seek re-election.

2001

-BostonVOTE becomes MassVOTE and becomes an independent 501(c)3 organization.

1999

-The Voter Power renames itself BostonVOTE and launches efforts to help nonprofit organizations serving communities of color register, educate, and mobilize voters, focusing on the lowest-turnout neighborhoods in Boston.

1995

-With support from the Access Strategies Fund and the Boston Foundation, the Commonwealth Education Project, the education and research arm of a coalition of labor unions, environmental groups, women’s groups, LGBT civil rights organizations, and community organizations, starts Voter Power, a nonpartisan voter education program.

Pre-history

The roots of MassVOTE’s work can be traced to the fights for racial equality and voting rights that have been a part of American history for 200 years.  More recently, MassVOTE’s work is connected to Boston’s difficult racial history, including the busing fights of the 1960s and 1970s, and to a tradition of progressive organizing in Massachusetts led by Mass Fair Share in the 1980s and by the Commonwealth Coalition and Mass Voters for Clean Elections in the 1990s.

MassVOTE

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