The Election Modernization Coalition, which includes LWVMA, has issued its recommendations for implementing early voting, which goes into effect with the November 2016 election.

To encourage cities and towns to offer a robust early voting program which includes both evening and weekend hours, the Coalition has launched an Early Voting Challenge, with gold and silver “medals” to recognize communities which meet or exceed those recommendations.

In January, a toolkit will be available to local Leagues and other voting activists explaining how to encourage the election officials in your town or city to offer both evening and weekend hours for early voting and, for municipalities larger than 35,000 people, multiple early voting locations.  The toolkit will include a sample town meeting warrant article if your election or town officials feel a town meeting vote will be needed to fund expanded hours and locations. LWVMA will get that toolkit to you as soon as it is available.

The election reform law passed by the legislature in 2014 only requires early in-person voting be available at city or town election offices during normal business hours for an eleven-day period before the election.

The coalition, which also includes Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, MASSPIRG, ACLU of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Voter Table, MIRA Coalition, and Progressive Massachusetts, urges cities and towns to offer at least one early voting location for every 35,000 residents.  All ballots that will be used in a municipality should be available at every early voting location.

The coalition also urges that early voting locations be open at least one evening each week and for at least four hours on the weekend in the eleven-day early voting period.

For more details on the recommendations and the Early Voting Challenge, go to Early voting is already available in 32 states, making it possible for people to vote in person who can’t get to the polls on Election Day, and helping to reduce lines on Election Day.