Massachusetts voters would have the convenience of casting ballots during a 10-day period before Election Day in state and federal elections, , starting with the 2016 presidential election, under a bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate Thursday. The legislation also would set up a new online voter registration system. The bill, put out by the Senate Elections Committee this week, would allow early voting at least at one site in every city or town for 10 business days before Election Day. The bill calls for the online voter registration system to be in place by August 2015.
In November, the House approved a bill (H 3788) authorizing a similar early-voting system, but limited it to presidential primaries and elections. The Senate version would include all state and federal primaries and general elections.
The new voter registration system would rely on citizens going online to a registration portal to fill out an affidavit showing they are eligible to vote. The online affidavit would use the citizen’s signature from Registry of Motor Vehicles records, and the registry would be required to make provisions for the transfer of the image of that signature to the central voter registry.