In the days following the Massachusetts municipal elections, near record-breaking lows in voter turnout statistics have revamped the push for automatic voter registration in the Commonwealth, as outlined in two bills currently on the Senate and House floors. The percentage of registered voters who cast their votes in the Boston municipal elections experienced a decline, with nearly 42 percent casting their votes in 2014 to only 28 percent in 2017, The Daily Free Press reported. Catherine Anderson, legislative director for the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cynthia Creem, said these figures alerted state and local officials of the need for new solutions to improve voter turnout and brought attention to the prospect of an automatic voter registration system.
The bill aims to use modern technology to aid the Massachusetts residents who are not properly registered to vote, Anderson said.
“Voting is a fundamental right in any democracy,” she said. “The process of registration should not be an impediment to exercising this right, but it can be. This bill would change that. This is a simple way for us to reduce bureaucratic government paperwork and save costs, but, more importantly, to increase voter participation.”
Anderson said if the bill is passed, state laws would be amended to automatically register citizens with the information they supply to other specified government agencies. The legislation would amend the system so that citizens could opt out of voter registration, rather than having to opt in.