Making Democracy Work

New England League Leadership Conference

The Leagues of NH, VT, ME, and RI have worked together for a number of years on regional issues. The Leagues in Massachusetts and Connecticut sometimes join the annual conference.

See the description of this year's conference below.

2020 New England League Leadership Conference

BREAKING NEWS March 12, 2020 This conference will not be held as scheduled, in an "abundance of caution" and the chance that the venue, the York County Community College, might be closed by April. Possible future webinar???

Details below:

From the planning committee---Because of coronavirus, we have decided to cancel this year's New England Leadership Development Conference, aka "Quad States", which was planned for April 4-5, 2020.

1) We are exploring the possibilities for offering some of the event online in webinar form. Please let us know if this is something which you would participate in, and be specific about which speaker(s) you would want to hear from.

a) Virginia Kase, CEO, LWVUS re: the place of the LWV in the national landscape b) Yanna Krupnikov, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University re: why people don't vote and the most effective ways to change that c) Mufalo Chitam, Executive Director, Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition re: cooperation among groups to achieve shared goals d) Senator Melanie Levesque re: the important role of legislation in voter engagement

2) If you have already registered and paid, you will hear from the LWVME office and will have several options regarding your money:

a) receive a refund b) apply it towards participating in the event in webinar form c) leave the money with the LWVME as a donation to their Education Fund.

3) If you have already made a reservation at the Hampton Inn, please contact them to cancel it.

Hampton Inn & Suites, 900 Post Road, Wells, Maine 04090 (207-646-0555)

We will miss seeing all of you in person!

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Fourteenth Annual Leadership Conference // Wells, ME // [originally scheduled for] April 4 - 5, 2020

Our theme this year is: "Engaging the Future"

State League leaders from CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT have developed a dynamic agenda for 2020 that is sure to address the most compelling issues of the year.

Plenary sessions will be at the York County Community College, 112 College Drive in Wells, ME, less than a mile from our hotel accommodations at the Hampton Inn, 900 Post Road, Wells, ME. Directions to YCCC from nearby highways are available here; directions from the Hampton Inn to YCCC are available here.

For more details and to register for the conference Click here.

Tentative Agenda - Schedule Subject to Change Friday evening, April 3 (optional): dinner out and socializing with other early arrivals.

Raffle Tickets Please visit our raffle table to benefit this Conference. Prizes are contributed by League members. Tickets are available all day Saturday: $5 each or five for $20.

Saturday, April 4

9:00 - 9:30 Registration at York County Community College, coffee, and welcome.

9:30 - 9:45 Welcome and Introductions. The League of Women Voters believes in empowering voters and defending democracy. We are committed to a program that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year's conference will use that lens to empower us to better engage disengaged and disenfranchised voters.

9:45 - 10:45 Keynote Speaker: Virginia Kase, CEO, LWVUS. Ms. Kase will give us an overview of where today's League fits into the national landscape of democracy reform and voter engagement.

10:45 - 11:00 BREAK

11:00 - 12:15 Workshop: Yanna Krupnikov, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University. Professor Krupnikov will share her research on the potential for power in information, integrating psychology and political science in order to identify points at which new information can have the most profound effect on the way people form political opinions, make political choices and, ultimately, take political actions. Prof. Krupnikov joins us with the generous support of the Scholars Strategy Network of Maine.

12:15 - 1:00 LUNCH

1:00 - 2:45 Engagement Workshop Panel Presentation: The panel will discuss how Leagues can maximize the impact of our work to engage disengaged and disenfranchised voters. Panelists will share insights about how we can encourage change in voting behaviors; the benefits of cooperation among groups working to engage voters, especially those who feel disengaged or left out; and the crucial role legislation plays in getting everyone to the polls.

Yanna Krupnikov, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University

Mufalo Chitam, Executive Director, Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition

NH Senator Melanie Levesque, Chair of the Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee

2:45 - 3:00 BREAK

3:00 - 3:45 Small group discussions with individual panelists

3:45 - 4:15 Full group wrap up

4:15 - 4:30 Raffle drawing. This is a win-win: great prizes are donated by League members to raise money to benefit the Conference and we get to win them and take them home! Tickets are available all day Saturday, $5 each or five for $20.

5:30 Dine Around: Sign up for dinner at one of the Wells/Ogunquit restaurants. This is a good time to get together with others from a different state.

Sunday, April 5

Until 9:00 Breakfast at the Hampton Inn included with room reservation.

9:00 - 9:15 Update from Toni Zimmer, LWVUS Board Liaison

9:15 - 10:00 Takeaways from Saturday's sessions

Summary of results

Implications for each state

What have we learned that we can apply right away to better engage voters in our states?

What longer-term actions we can take?

10:00 - 10:15 Break

10:15 - 11:45 Envisioning our next 100 years: brainstorming ourselves into the future

Celebrating the past: what have we learned?

Going beyond our current goals: where can we push the envelope?

What actions do we intend to take to move our organization forward?

What results do we want to see in five years? Ten? Twenty?

11:45 - 12:00 Wrap-up and adjourn. Don't leave early -- Sunday could be the best part!

Register Now

Registration is $25 per person paid to the LWVME Education Fund. To register online using a credit card, visit the LWVME website (LWV Maine is acting as our fiscal agent for this event)

To register by check, fill out the registration form and return with a check for $25, payable to the LWVME Education Fund. Note "Leadership Conference" in the memo field. Send to

LWVME Education Fund
PO Box 863,
Augusta, ME 04332

Make your own hotel reservation at Hampton Inn & Suites, 900 Post Road, Wells, Maine 04090 (207-646-0555). Be sure to say you are with the League of Women Voters and the room rate will be $104 plus tax. Note: when calling the hotel, do not hit "1 for reservations" or "2 for sales," but stay on the line until the front desk picks up. Our block of rooms will be held until March 31, but the rate will be in effect until the event. Find a roommate to share, and the cost will be around $50 per person. Upon request, LWVNH attendees will be reimbursed $50/night toward the room rate, thanks to a grant from the LWVNH Education Fund.

Breakfast is included in the room rate. Saturday lunch is included in your registration fee. We will have dinner together in small groups at area restaurants on Saturday.

2019 New England League Leadership Conference

April 6 & 7, 2019. (formerly called "Quad States Conference")

Theme is "Advancing Civility in a Diverse New England." Panels and discussions included the following:

What do we mean by diversity in a representative democracy? Challenges of governing in a diverse world, Communicating across diversity, Non-voters and the challenges of reaching out to them.

The Sunday morning session included planning for 2020, the 100th anniversary of the League and of women's suffrage!

Click here for detailed agenda.

Best conference ever is the consensus, with excellent speakers & discussion, 83 attendees total (a record!), and 19 attendees from NH. Thanks to the organizers for all their good work (Nancy M. was NH's representative on the planning committee.--well done, Nancy!)

We didn't stand still long enough for a photo this year.

2018 (Quad States) New England League Leadership Conference

We met again at the Hampton Inn in Wells, Maine, the weekend of April 7-8, 2018.

Our nearly annual conference for League members from NH, VT, ME and RI also included board members from MA and CT. Four members from NH participated. The focus this year was on "Making Democracy Work: Learning From Each Other."

Workshops included sharing of ideas on working within the League (local and state and national levels) and also working with the many citizen action groups that have sprung up.

Keynote speaker was Sec. of State Jim Condos of VT, whose progressive view of voting rights and process gave some of us SoS envy. In VT each voter has access to a unique, individual webpage where he/she can request an absentee ballot, then check that the application and later the ballot have been received, can see sample ballots and a list of one own's Here in NH we are not even allowed to update our addresses online! And sample ballots are at the whim of town website managers.

Also presenting was Joanna London of LWV District of Columbia, with an interesting story of DC's struggle for full voting rights. DC residents vote for the President, but do not have a voting Congressional Delegation. Congress approves their city budget, and just like everyone else, they pay income and sales taxes to run their city. With a population of 700,000, DC is bigger than two of our states but have no vote in Congress! Residents and their League want that changed.

Sunday morning included a discussion of the national League's "Transformation Journey" hosted by national board member Toni Zimmer.

2017 (Quad States) New England League Leadership Conference

A fascinating group of workshop presenters included a young but experienced political figure who founded a civics curriculum being used in several states, a husband and wife team who are the founders of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, and a professor of government at Colby College and Director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement.

Our keynote speaker was Toni Zimmer, LWV board of directors and our liaison to national League (shown center in this photo of the 5 New England state presidents attending: VT, MA, RI, Toni, ME, NH.)

This is the eleventh year Leagues from New England have organized this conference to educate ourselves and share our ideas for Making Democracy Work, the theme for 2017.

So busy we couldn't get all thirteen LWVNH members to stand still together, but we caught ten of us. Missing are JoAnne E, Sally E, and Sara M.

Click here for conference summary. Thirteen NH members represented our League, and our thanks to the LWVNH Education Fund for helping to make this possible.

2016 (Quad States) League Leadership Conference

April 9-10, 2016, brought together 5 of the New England Leagues for fascinating workshops and discussion.

Exciting keynote speaker was author and political strategist Celinda Lake. She is the co-author of the book What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live The theme for this year's conference workshops was communications: getting the League's message to the public and to elected officials, as well as improving internal communications at all levels. Our recent Money in Politics study was referred to in examples of possible communications strategies.

Location was the Hampton Inn and Suites, Wells, Maine.

2015 Quad States Conference

The Quad States Conference (NH, VT, ME, RI and possibly CT) was held in Wells, Maine, the weekend of May 16-17. League members from NH, VT, ME, and RI and Connecticut attended.

Program: Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island's Secretary of State, was the keynote speaker at the 9th annual Quad States Leadership Conference. Election Law was the theme of this year's conference, with related issues the focus of workshops to enhance our League leadership skills (focus issues are in parentheses below):

Membership Recruitment: using an issue to recruit members (Redistricting) + Nancy Marashio (NH) was a workshop presenter.

Working With Others, including LWVUS (Money in Politics) + Ann Luther, (ME).

Conducting a Study (Open Primaries) + Kate Rader and Sonja Schuyler (VT).

A panel of women in public life who have used League experience to launch or inform their careers concluded the conference on Sunday.

2014 Quad States Conference

LWVUS president Elisabeth MacNamara sttended this conference! She shared many thoughts with attendees.

States participating in 2014 were NH, VT, Maine, RI, and new this year, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

With energy production and distribution currently "hot topics," this year's subject was Energy and Energy Efficiency. The New England Governors in December signed a compact agreeing to work together to solve the region's energy issues. The Governors are committed to working toward a regional goal of lowering electricity and heating costs and expanding their [energy] portfolios. This announcement contributed to our choosing this topic for our 2014 conference.

Our keynote speakers included Jack Cashman, former head of Maine's Public Utilities Commission, who explained how ISO-NE* works in relation to the states' various Public Utilities Commissions. Lea Aeschliman, a past League member and former chair of the NH Public Utilities Commission, helped us understand more about the current status of RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), a regional initiative by states and provinces in the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Also leading one of our workshops was a Maine League member who serves on LWVUS Climate Change Task Force. Pam Person helped us understand the LWVUS work on climate and energy and how state and local Leagues can take action.

We thank the LWVNH Education Fund for a grant to support NH attendance at the conference this year.

A synopsis of what we learned is posted below.

Energy and Climate Change Report

This is a summary of the three presentations on energy and climate change given at the May 2014 Quad States conference.

Download the pdf