The Legislature on Wednesday advanced a constitutional amendment aimed at facilitating early voting and more widespread use of absentee voting in Massachusetts, but Senate President Therese Murray said the lengthy amendment process is just one option available to reform supporters. “I would like to see it happen. I would like to see it come through as legislation so it could be done sooner. A lot of people are disenfranchised, particularly people who live in my communities who travel to work sometimes north of Boston, leave before the polls open and get home when the polls are closed,” Murray told the News Service after she gaveled her proposal forward and then closed down the convention until next March. Lawmakers meeting in a brief Constitutional Convention Wednesday advanced the constitutional amendment (S 12) that would allow registered voters in Massachusetts to cast their ballots at polling places during the 10 days leading up to a scheduled election. The amendment would also allow any voter to request an absentee ballot, regardless of the circumstance.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia allow early voting, on average 22 days before the election. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow registered voters to vote absentee for any reason.
With Murray presiding over the 1 p.m. convention, the proposal was quickly advanced on a voice vote and without debate before the convention recessed until March 12, 2014, when the proposal and others on the calendar could receive further attention. Prior to the convention, a Murray spokeswoman had declined to provide any insight into whether lawmakers would vote on any amendments or recess the convention as they had earlier this year.
Full Article: Lawmakers start push for early voting – Lowell Sun Online.