Advocates for election reform, including the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, have issued their recommendations for implementing early voting in the state, which will go into effect with the November 2016 election.
To encourage cities and towns to offer a robust early voting program, the Election Modernization Coalition has issued an Early Voting Challenge, with gold and silver “medals” to recognize communities which meet or exceed those recommendations.
The law passed by the state legislature in 2014 requires early in-person voting be available at city or town election offices for an eleven-day period before the election, during normal business hours.
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 early voting period.
Early voting is already available in 32 other 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.
For more details on the recommendations and the Early Voting Challenge, go to www.EarlyVotingMA.com