Governor Charlie Baker has vetoed $1.2 million in state spending that election officials argue is critical for a new statewide early-voting program, a move advocates say could cripple efforts to expand residents’ ability to participate in the presidential race this fall. The early-voting law, set to begin with the November general election, is intended to allow Massachusetts residents to vote up to 11 business days before Election Day, joining 36 other states that already have such provisions. Barring a legislative override of gubernatorial vetoes, state election officials said they cannot fully put in place a key element of an election reform signed by then-governor Deval Patrick in 2014. “I am very disturbed. This is very irresponsible,’’ said Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who oversees state elections and is a strong supporter of the early-voting system.
“Elections are critical to a democracy, and we can’t compromise the right of the people to vote,’’ he said. “This is aimed at expanding that right by giving voters more options.”
The law stipulates that cities and towns must have at least one early-voting site open during business hours. It also gives municipalities the ability to extend their hours, hold polling hours on weekends, and establish additional voting sites — though they are not required to do so. Advocates have encouraged large municipalities to create and staff more than one early-voting site.
Full Article: Baker chops money for early voting – The Boston Globe.