January 2, 2018/BOSTON, MA — The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has urged the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the legislature to expand early voting to all statewide elections, including primaries.
In comments submitted in response to the Secretary’s request for input on potential dates for the September 2018 state primary election, the League noted that the conflicts between potential primary dates and the Jewish holidays could be resolved by offering early voting.
“This situation is a perfect example of why the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Legislature should expand early voting for at least all statewide elections, including primaries. The availability of early voting would allow the Commonwealth to continue with this primary as is routine on September 18 while allowing ample opportunity for those observing the Jewish holidays to vote in advance,” Mary Ann Ashton, president of the state League, said in the letter.
The League asked the Secretary to set the date as late as possible to allow voters to become familiar with the candidates after the summer vacation period. The League also urged the Secretary to devote adequate resources to publicizing the election date, particularly if it is on a Thursday, and the availability of absentee ballots well in advance of the election.
The League said it was “disappointed” that the public comment period on the primary date was announced on Dec. 22 and ran until Jan. 2, the two-week holiday period when many who might wish to comment might be unaware of the opportunity to comment or unable to do so. The League asked that the public comment period be extended to permit additional input.