MA House Votes Down Important Voting Protections

Yesterday, the MA House voted for a bill that took some important steps, but contained some glaring omissions.
Here are some of the key parts of the bill.
  • Sending an application to vote by mail to every registered voter for both the September 1 primary election and the November 3 general election
  • Ensuring all applications and ballots sent by mail include prepaid return postage
  • Ensuring that ballots postmarked by Election Day will be counted (but for the general election only)
  • Allowing voters to apply to vote by mail through an online portal and enabling any voter who wants to vote absentee to do so this year
  • Expanding early voting for the primary and the general
However, there were major omissions. And most reps passed on an opportunity to address them.

As noted above, the requirement to count every ballot postmarked by the election only applies to the general, not the primary. (The House ruled an amendment to do so, filed by Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham, as "out of order.")

The bill reduced the 20-day voter registration blackout period to a 10-day blackout period. But with our primary happening on move-in day, housing instability high, voter registration drives impossible this summer, and physical voter registration forms hard to come by, that does not address the fundamental reasons why we need Election Day Registration. Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa (D-Northampton) filed an amendment to authorize Election Day Registration and to create a streamlined online registration process, but the House voted it down. You can see the vote below.

 

EDR_vote_-_6-4-20.png

The House also voted down an amendment from Rep. Tami Gouveia (D-Acton) to strengthen the protections for safe in-person voting, such as spelling out clearly what Galvin needs to do and requiring municipalities to have preparedness plans. Her amendment would have also required 25+ days of notice for changes in polling locations. (An amendment that increased the notice in the underlying bill from 10+ days to 15+ days passed, but 15 days is still too short).

 

Safe_in_Person_Voting_vote_6-4-20.png

Like how your state rep voted? Don't like how they voted? Let them know.

Why did reps vote against these common-sense measures--especially reps that say they support Election Day Registration in other cases? Many of the Republicans simply don't care about protecting the franchise (unfortunately, some Democrats too). But for most Democrats, they care more about staying in the good graces of an authoritarian House Leadership than they care about their progressive values. And it's up to you -- their constituents -- to change that.

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