While Massachusetts has made strong commitments to voting rights, that commitment could be further strengthened by implementing same-day registration and eliminating required excuses for absentee voting.
EveryDistrict Action Fund is not currently tracking any pro-voting legislation in Massachusetts. Contact your legislator using the FIND MY LEGISLATOR button below and encourage them to introduce legislation that would implement one of EveryDistrict Action Fund’s recommendations for Massachusetts.
Automatic Voter Registration- Automatic voter registration was signed by Governor Baker in August 2018 and is expected to begin in 2020. In contrast to other states, AVR in Massachusetts includes both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Massachusetts Health Exchange.
RECOMMENDATION: While this program is stronger than many states, Massachusetts should seek to expand to other state and local agencies following initial implementation of AVR.
Online Voter Registration- Voters can register in Massachusetts 20 days prior to Election Day. A wide variety of forms of identification are acceptable for registration, including a driver’s license, state ID, utility bill, bank statement, paystub, government-issued check, or another document with name and address.
Same-Day Registration- Massachusetts does not offer same-day registration.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement same-day registration in Massachusetts.
Voter ID Requirement- No Voter ID is required at Massachusetts polling places. First-time voters who did not provide identification when registering may need to provide identification at the polling place.
Early Voting- Early voting begins 11 days before Election Day and concludes the Friday before Election Day.
No Excuse Absentee- Massachusetts only allows voters to vote absentee if they will be absent from their town of residence, have a disability, or for a religious reason.
RECOMMENDATION: Eliminate the required excuses from the absentee voting process due to their suppressive effect.
Mail-In Voting- Mail-in voting is only permitted in the context of the restrictive absentee ballot voting.
RECOMMENDATION: Move Massachusetts toward a mail-in vote state in line with practices in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Felon Re-Enfranchisement- Returning citizens have their voting rights restored immediately upon the completion of their prison sentence.
Voter Bill of Rights- Massachusetts does have a clearly published voter bill of rights.
Polling Hours- Polling places are generally open from 7 am – 8 pm on Election Day, for 13 hours of voting. Municipalities are able to open as early as 5:45 am.
RECOMMENDATION: Expand voting hours to 14 hours consistent with leading states.
Wait Time Service Standard- Like other states, Massachusetts does not have a wait time service standard. While Massachusetts has substantial early voting, improving the Election Day experience is still vital.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement and monitor a wait time service standard for polling places in Massachusetts.
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