Efforts to streamline access to the ballot in Massachusetts are picking up steam after a court tossed out a state’s 20-day voter registration cutoff deadline. Voting right advocates say they’re renewing their push for two measures, including one that would let eligible voters register on Election Day and a second that would create a new automatic voter registration system. The rekindled interest comes after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled Monday that the requirement that voters register at least 20 days before an election violates the Massachusetts Constitution and potentially disenfranchises thousands of would-be voters.
Activists, many of whom pushed for the state’s adoption of early voting during last year’s election, see the ruling as an opening. “It breathes new life into that debate,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts.
The group is one of several — including the League of Women Voters, Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, and MassVOTE — that have lobbied for additional changes to the state’s voting laws.
One, Election Day registration — or same-day registration — would let voters register to vote and cast their ballots on Election Day or during the early voting period.