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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Funds Aim to Support Municipalities With Expanded Mail Voting

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023   

Voting rights advocates in Massachusetts are applauding Governor Maura Healey's budgetary backing of new policies stemming from last year's passage of the VOTES Act. The law expands early voting options and allows all voters to cast their ballot by mail for any reason, but some municipalities are struggling to handle the expansion of mail-in voting for local springtime elections, citing a lack of personnel.

Common Cause of Massachusetts Executive Director Geoff Foster said timing of the governor's funding could not be better.

"Lack of resources or staff hopefully shouldn't be the reason why municipalities are opting out of what's a really valuable expansion to our voting laws," he said.

Healy has dedicated $5 million for grants to cities and towns to more easily manage ballot requests. 37% of Massachusetts voters cast their ballots by mail in last year's midterm elections.

Registered voters will now receive a letter in the mail each year offering the chance to opt in to mail-in voting, which can also be done online. Foster said the policy aims to improve turnout among those who may struggle with child care, work multiple jobs or those with physical challenges.

"To be able to bring democracy literally home to your kitchen table potentially to fill out a mail ballot at home at a time that that works for you, I mean that's just a win all around for our democracy," Foster said.

There is still work to be done, Foster said. The VOTES Act changed the cut-off date for voter registration from twenty days prior to an election to ten days, but voting advocates say they will continue to push for same-day voter registration. With some 150 bills meant to restrict voter access already introduced nationwide this year, voting advocates say Massachusetts is on the right track.


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acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

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Social Issues

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The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…


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Environment

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Health and Wellness

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New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

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