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Improving the electoral process and educating voters are goals that are central to LWVMA’s mission.
LWVMA and its coalition partners succeeded in passing H.4820, An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, into law Monday, July 6, 2020. This important measure assures that our Sept. 1, 2020 primary election and Nov. 3, 2020 general election are held in a way that increases the safety of voters and poll workers, eases the workload on local election officials, and creates confidence in the conduct of these elections. The major provisions of the law are outlined here.
During the 2017-18 legislative session, LWVMA and its coalition partners succeeded in passing Automatic Voter Registration, a common-sense electoral reform that was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 9, 2018. Massachusetts is the 14th state to adopt automatic voter registration, which will go into effect before the 2020 election year.
Our success in the 2017-18 session built upon our significant achievements in previous years:
In 2014, after many years of lobbying by LWVMA and its Election Modernization Coalition partners, Massachusetts took a major step to modernize its voter registration and election processes when a far-reaching election reform bill became law.
At a time when too many states are making it more difficult for citizens to register and to vote, Massachusetts should be proud to be moving in the opposite direction.
Specifically the 2014 law implemented:
- Online voter registration.
- Online portal to check voter registration status.
- Pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, who then automatically become eligible to vote when they turn 18.
- Early voting for biennial statewide elections during business hours at a city or town’s election office. Cities and towns can extend early voting hours to weekends if they choose and offer additional sites for early voting.
- Post-election audits of randomly-selected precincts after Presidential elections.
- Creation of an elections task force to study additional issues, including cost of early voting and need for additional sites and hours, voter fraud, wait times, and Election Day voter registration.
These are significant improvements, but there is more work to be done. Going forward, we will continue to push to expand early voting and to implement Election Day registration, the reform that has been shown to have the greatest impact on voter participation. We will continue fighting hard to bring the Massachusetts electoral system into the 21st century.