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League of Women Voters Calls for Suspension of Absentee Ballot Restrictions

Contact: Patricia Comfort

BOSTON – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has asked Secretary of State William Galvin to suspend the restrictions on absentee ballot voting in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Read their letter here.

The League noted that most of Massachusetts’ 351 towns will hold local elections for town offices and school committees this spring and that fear of the coronavirus might keep people from voting.

The League urged Galvin “to take steps to suspend the requirements for obtaining an absentee ballot for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak so that anyone who wishes to vote by absentee ballot in local elections this spring, and in later elections if necessary, can do so.”

“We are concerned that people, particularly in high-risk demographic groups, will decide not to vote in this spring’s local elections out of fear of being in high-traffic areas. Local elections are important, and we want everyone to vote in them,” said Mary Ann Ashton, co-president of the state League.

“While we realize that the restrictions on who can vote by absentee ballot are part of the Massachusetts Constitution, we urge the Secretary of State to take all possible steps to lift those restrictions for the duration of this unprecedented public health situation,” said Judy Zaunbrecher, co-president of the League.

The League also pointed out in its letter that allowing unrestricted absentee voting might make the polling places safer for election workers and other voters by providing alternative access to the ballot for people with colds or other symptoms.


Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy. With 47 local Leagues throughout the state and over 3,000 members, LWVMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide variety of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, and public education. Membership in the League is open to everyone of all ages. For more information about the League of Women Voters, please visit
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