Massachusetts

Articles about voting issues in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts: Conscious of cyber threats, Galvin’s office focuses on election integrity | Lowell Sun

Amid talk of ongoing meddling in American elections by Russia or other adversaries, the head of Secretary of State William Galvin’s elections division met over the long weekend with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials to discuss the security of state elections systems. Last week, the director of national intelligence told federal lawmakers that the intelligence community has already seen signs that Russia, among others, may be attempting to involve itself in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and other future contests. “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee last week. He added, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.” Read More

Massachusetts: Galvin, voter groups press for same-day registration | Newburyport News

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. Read More

Massachusetts: State Inches Toward Election-Day Voter Registration | Courthouse News

Massachusetts is still fighting a ruling that struck down its voter-registration deadline of 20 days prior to an election, but the state on Thursday proposed same-day voter registration in the commonwealth. Secretary of State William Galvin filed the bill on Jan. 25, six months after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins struck down the 20-day rule as unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts represented the challengers who brought the underlying suit, including voter Rafael Sanchez, and the groups Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote. Read More

Massachusetts: Secretary Of State Galvin Calls For Same-Day Registration | WBUR

Massachusetts voters could both register to vote and cast a ballot on election day, under legislation proposed by the secretary of state. “Allowing voters to register on Election Day is the next step in our successful effort to expand access to the ballot,” Secretary of State William Galvin said in a statement Thursday. Galvin’s bill — which joins similar measures at the Legislature — would allow so-called same-day registration to start in 2019, before the 2020 presidential election. “Over the past few years, my office has worked to bring online voter registration, pre-registration, and early voting to Massachusetts,” Galvin added. “This is yet another way to make it easier to cast a ballot for any eligible citizen who wants to vote.” Read More

Massachusetts: Scheduling state primary turns into major political headache | Associated Press

What should have been a fairly routine administrative exercise — setting a date for this year’s primary election in Massachusetts — is turning into a major political headache for state Secretary William Galvin. The primary is normally held seven weeks before the November general election, which would be Sept. 18. But this year, that day also marks the start of Yom Kippur. Setting the primary for that date would clash with a state law requiring the primary to be moved when it conflicts with a religious holiday. Backing up a week to Sept. 11 doesn’t help, either, because that would fall on Rosh Hashanah. That presented Galvin, who oversees state elections, with a potentially dicey decision. The longtime Democratic officeholder decided to crowdsource the decision by making a public appeal for suggestions from voters, candidates or anyone else with an interest. Read More

Massachusetts: Early Voting Expansion Proposed To Include Massachusetts Primary | WAMC

The top election official in Massachusetts has scheduled the state’s 2018 primary for September 4th — the day after Labor Day.  Secretary of State William Galvin is also proposing legislation to allow five days of early voting for the primaries. The date of the primary had to be moved up to avoid conflicts with Jewish holidays that fall this year on the second and third Tuesdays in September.  A primary later in the month might not allow for any potential recounts to be completed in time to meet a federally-established deadline to mail general election ballots to military personnel stationed overseas, according to Galvin’s office. Read More

Massachusetts: State owes municipalities more than $1M for early voting, auditor says | WWLP

Cities and towns spent more than $1 million to cover the costs of holding mandatory early voting periods in 2016, Auditor Suzanne Bump has found, costs that the Legislature may be on the hook for reimbursing. Bump determined in February that parts of the state’s early voting law imposed an unfunded mandate on municipalities. In a letter she sent Monday to the governor, legislative leaders and state budget writers, Bump pegged the total unfunded mandated early voting cost to municipalities at $1,063,978.14 and asked that the Legislature make municipalities whole in a supplemental budget. “Early voting is an important addition to our democratic processes and funding the expenses incurred by our municipalities will make it that much stronger,” Bump wrote in the letter. Read More

Massachusetts: Secretary of State Galvin facing conflicts for picking state primary date | State House News Service

It is up to Secretary of State William Galvin to pick a date to hold Massachusetts’ 2018 state primary election and his request for public input hasn’t pointed to an obvious answer. The date of the state primary is usually settled without much discussion or public attention, but this year Galvin is required by law to move the primary to an earlier date in September due to a conflict with a Jewish religious holiday. The target date for the primary – 49 days before Election Day – is Tuesday, Sept. 18, but that date marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. One week earlier, Tuesday, Sept. 11, conflicts with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. State law requires Galvin to schedule the primary within seven days of the second Tuesday of September, this year Sept. 11, leaving the secretary a window from Sept. 4 until Sept. 18 to hold the election. Read More

Massachusetts: In wake of dismal voter turnout, legislators consider automatic registration | The Daily Free Press

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. Read More

Massachusetts: Advocates push automatic voter registration in Massachusetts | Associated Press

The lackluster turnout in some municipal elections this week has energized advocates hoping to make it easier for people to register to vote. The activists want state lawmakers to adopt something known as automatic voter registration — a system that automatically updates voters’ information whenever they alert one of several state agencies of a change of address or other pertinent change in their status. The agencies include the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Revenue, MassHealth, the Department of Higher Education, and all public institutions of higher education. The bill would also let voters waive those updates if they want. Among the groups backing the change is the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. Read More