Good-government groups want lawmakers to act fast to allow people to register to vote on Election Day this fall, pointing to a recent court ruling that deemed unconstitutional the state’s 20-day deadline to register before an election. Several bills before the Legislature would allow same-day registration. The effort got a major boost last week when Secretary of State Bill Galvin also filed a bill to allow it. Galvin, the state’s top election official, called on lawmakers to approve the proposal before a deadline Feb. 7 to move bills out of committee. Ironically, Galvin’s office is simultaneously embroiled in a legal battle with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts over the 20-day voter registration cutoff.
Last year, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled the deadline unconstitutional, saying it prevents thousands of potential voters from casting ballots.
Galvin is appealing but also asking lawmakers to approve his plan for same-day registration, starting next year. He stands behind the constitutionality of the cutoff but points out that he supported same-day voter registration even before the lawsuit.
“This is yet another way to make it easier to cast a ballot for any eligible citizen who wants to vote,” he said of his proposal.