Front Page News, Improving Elections

LWVMA Asks Legislature to Pass Bill to Safeguard Fall Elections

LWVMA and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition are asking the legislature to send all registered voters a ballot for the November general election.

A bill, HD.5075, filed Tuesday, May 5, calls for ballots to be mailed to all voters, with prepaid return postage, at least 19 days before the Nov. 3 election. Ballots will be returned to city or town election offices, which would also install secure dropboxes where voters could deposit ballots.

In-person voting will still be an option, and the bill requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to adopt regulations to safeguard the health of voters and election workers at the polls.

The bill’s chief sponsors are Rep. Michael Moran, assistant majority leader, and Rep. John Lawn, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws.  Sen. Eric Lesser and Sen. Adam Hinds are sponsoring it in the Senate.  The bill would also:

  • Expand early voting in person to two weeks before the Sept. 1 state primary election and three weeks before the Nov. 3 election
  • Cut the deadline to register to vote in the two elections from the current 20 days to 10 days
  • Create an online portal for voters to apply for absentee ballots
  • Establish that concern about Covid-19 qualifies as a “physical disability” and permits any concerned voter to vote by absentee ballot
  • Permit local election officials to scan absentee and early voting ballots in their offices before election day, rather than deliver them to individual polling places to be counted on election day; no results will be determined or announced before polls close.

The Election Modernization Coalition includes LWVMA, Common Cause, ACLU Massachusetts, MassVOTE, MassPIRG, Massachusetts Voter Table, and Lawyers for Civil Rights.

See the Coalition press release here.

See the text of the bill here.