This year’s election cycle will be the first in which Massachusetts citizens are permitted to participate in early voting in state elections. This recent development in Massachusetts’ election law is accompanied by several other changes and results from the enactment of An Act Relative to Election Laws, 2014 (HB 3788). More specifically, the reform bill provides for early voting in biennial state elections between eleven and two days before election day. All eligible Massachusetts voters are also now able to register to vote online and readily check their registration status to ensure they are all set to cast their ballot when the time comes. Additionally, this online registration now allows for the pre-registration of sixteen and seventeen year-olds so they can be immediately prepared to vote once they turn eighteen. These revisions to the registration policy represent a concerted and valiant effort to encourage young citizens to participate in the democratic process and exercise their right to vote as soon as they become eligible. This legislative development also depicts a real-life effort of the older-generations providing a form of assistance in helping society’s youth become more politically active, and is refreshing to observe given the flak that our younger generations have taken for low voter turnout.
A look at the opinions and statements of some the elected officials responsible for this legislation can help provide some additional context into the particulars of its passage. State Senator Barry Finegold voiced strong support for the bill and its hopeful impact of increasing turnout and providing those who may not have otherwise made it to the polls with another opportunity to be a part of the political process.
This optimism seems to stem largely from the idea that many would-be voters are just logistically unable to make it to the polls for a variety of reasons such as job maintenance and the inability to take time off of work or child and family care. An example of this problem is seen in last year’s comments from MassVote’s Executive Director who believes theses efforts are aimed at limiting the number of excuses people have to casting their vote each election.
Full Article: Early Voting: Welcome to Massachusetts |.