On June 16, 2004, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, William F. Galvin, and the President of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, Madhu Sridhar, jointly signed a Voters’ Bill of Rights for Massachusetts citizens at the Statehouse. This document, prepared by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, was designed to ensure that voters clearly understand their voting rights in simple language.
Voting is the most fundamental way in which all citizens participate directly in our democracy. But many citizens are unsure of their rights at the polls. The fifteen rights listed in the Voters’ Bill of Rights include some of the most basic ones, such as:
- The right to vote in privacy – an important voting concept that keeps our democracy free;
- The right to cast a provisional ballot if you are not on the voters’ list – ensuring that every voter is valued in this democracy; and
- The right to a replacement ballot if an error is made while marking a ballot –guaranteeing that the voter can cast a ballot that will count and will reflect the voter’s choice.
At the signing, League President Madhu Sridhar stated, “The strength of a democracy is measured, in large part, by the full and valued participation of its citizens. We are pleased to join as a partner with Secretary Galvin in this effort to make voters aware of their rights at the polls. At this time when Massachusetts is absorbed in upcoming partisan politics, we want to continue to focus on the central player in our democracy – the voter.”
Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin said, “I congratulate the Massachusetts League of Women Voters for their initiative in producing this Voters’ Bill of Rights for the polling places of the Commonwealth. Media reports of voting problems from other states can produce confusion at times, and voters may not be aware of their rights until they need one, so this concise list of all their rights will help ensure that everyone who is qualified to vote and wants to vote is able to do so.”
Read the Massachusetts Voters’ Bill of Rights in English.
Read the Massachusetts Voters’ Bill of Rights in Spanish.
Read the Massachusetts Voters’ Bill of Rights in Chinese.