The Fourth of July celebration is over, but the legal fireworks are just getting started in a trial that got underway Wednesday focusing on a key concern of the founding fathers – the right to vote. Jessie Rossman, one of the lawyers handling the case for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts says as early as 1887, the state Supreme Court ruled that the cut-off for voter registration should occur as close to Election Day as possible. Rossman argues the technology is available to allow for same-day registration, so she says the current system is arbitrary and unconstitutional. “Every year, thousands of people in Massachusetts are disenfranchised and unable to vote as a result of this 20-day registration cut-off,” she states.
The state argues that the deadline is rational and falls within its authority to assure orderly elections.
Rossman says 15 states, including more than half of New England states, currently allow same-day registration for voters on Election Day.
Rossman says low-income people, elderly people, students, younger people and people of color are most impacted by the cut-off date.