A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the winner-take-all system Massachusetts uses to assign its Electoral College presidential votes, rejecting the argument that it violates the principle of “one person, one vote.” The case is one of several spearheaded by the onetime lawyer for former Vice President Al Gore that is targeting the winner-take-all system used in 48 states, which critics ultimately hope to get before the U.S. Supreme Court. They argue the practice of assigning all of a state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of a state’s popular vote disenfranchises those who voted for the losing candidate and puts too much weight in the votes of those who live in a few key battleground states. But Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris said the system is constitutional because it doesn’t treat any set of voters differently from another.Full Article: Judge rejects challenge to winner-take-all election system | The Seattle Times.
Articles about voting issues in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts: ‘This is life or death’: trans people threatened by Massachusetts vote | The Guardian
Amid continued attempts by the Trump administration to roll back transgender rights in the United States, Massachusetts voters are set to decide whether or not to eliminate a 2016 state law protecting transgender individuals from discrimination in public spaces like restaurants and shops. The 6 November ballot question will mark the first statewide referendum in the country that threatens to revoke previously guaranteed transgender rights. If the law is successfully repealed, transgender rights activists worry that it could trigger similar campaigns elsewhere in the country. “Question 3 poses significant consequences for transgender people across Massachusetts, but it also would have significant consequences for transgender people across the country,” said Sarah McBride, the national press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT rights group.Full Article: 'This is life or death': trans people threatened by Massachusetts vote | Society | The Guardian.
A voting rights group on Monday called for a “full review” after finding several errors on absentee New Hampshire. But the secretary of state’s office said the group is wrong in one instance and that other issues are being addressed as part of the usual pre-election process. A small number of ballots are sent 45 days before the election to military members and others overseas. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights said Londonderry’s ballots listed a candidate under the wrong party, the Bedford ballot lists a candidate twice and another candidate was left off ballots for Auburn, Sandown and Chester. The group’s director, Liz Wester, called the errors “unacceptable.”Full Article: Group raises questions about absentee ballot errors | News | heraldcourier.com.
The hackers leaned back in their chairs and scanned through options to disrupt election day as if they were reading from a menu of chaos. Fake bomb threats. Orchestrated traffic jams. A botnet of faux Twitter accounts to spread discord. In a simulated exercise put on by the Boston-based cybersecurity firm Cybereason Sept. 20, a team of seven hackers tried to outwit a group of current and former law enforcement officials from the Massachusetts area. In the end, the hackers did not need to be selective about their options. They decided to combine all of their ideas into a concoction of havoc to pick apart the simulated voting day.Full Article: Hackers in Boston gamed out an election day nightmare - and won.
The crowded and chaotic Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts that is now being recounted has fueled calls from election reform advocates for the state to adopt a system allowing voters to rank candidates on the ballot rather than select just a single one. Ten candidates were vying for their party’s nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. 4 primary, Lori Trahan and Dan Koh, wound up separated by only a few dozen votes after the initial count. The recount sought by Koh in the 37 cities and towns of the 3rd Congressional District is slated to conclude Monday. Regardless of the outcome, the winner will have done so with just slightly more than 20 percent of the total Democratic votes cast in the race — a result that some see as troubling if not outright undemocratic.Full Article: After chaotic House race, some call for new voting system.
Massachusetts: Five days, 37 cities and towns, and 89,000 ballots: The recount begins in Third District | The Boston Globe
Madeline Varitimos, the 79-year-old chairwoman of the Methuen Board of Registrars of Voters, lifted her thick magnifying glass to inspect the ballot in question. The ovals next to two congressional candidates were filled in, but one had an X through it. “Because the X was so clear and definitive,” Varitimos said, the intent was to obliterate the vote for Dan Koh of Andover and cast the ballot for Lori Trahan of Lowell. Her colleagues agreed. Such was the drama and routine at the beginning of a sprawling five-day ballot recount process in the Third Congressional District’s Democratic primary. Spanning 37 cities and towns, the recount has set out to tally by hand 89,000 ballots to determine a nominee who will move on to the Nov. 6 general election to face a Republican and an independent candidate.Full Article: As congressional recount begins, sniping between candidate and secretary of state - The Boston Globe.
Massachusetts: After issues in Lowell and Lawrence, state says it will oversee elections there through November | The Boston Globe
Citing concerns about short-staffing and the mishandling of primary ballots, Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Monday he is taking over the elections departments in the Third Congressional District’s two largest cities, as he formally ordered a recount into its hotly contested Democratic primary. The decision to “exercise direct control” in Lawrence and Lowell through the November election injected a new level of intrigue into the unpredictable Third District race, where Dan Koh, a former chief of staff to Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, petitioned for a recount after falling 122 votes short of Lori Trahan in the 10-Democrat field.Full Article: After issues in Lowell and Lawrence, state says it will oversee elections there through November - The Boston Globe.
Massachusetts has received millions of dollars in federal funding to bolster election security, but most of it will not be spent until after the November election. Massachusetts has received millions of dollars in federal funding to bolster election security, but most of it will not be spent until after the November election. The Bay State has received $7.9 million from the federal government, which election officials plan to spend on voting equipment, voter registration systems and cybersecurity, according to documents shared with Wicked Local. About 81 percent, however, will be spent after the upcoming midterm election. State officials, nonetheless, say the federal dollars — while helpful — are not vital to running a safe and accurate election.Full Article: Massachusetts to spend millions on election security - after November - News - Marshfield Mariner - Marshfield, MA.
Local city and town clerks are looking for guidance as the state develops methods and regulations to automatically register eligible voters in time for the 2020 presidential elections. “I think it’s going to unfold as we get closer,” said Fitchburg City Clerk Anna Farrell. “We want everything to be clear as we move forward.” Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law to enact automatic voter registration earlier in the month. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the Health Connector will be the agencies that automatically register residents who meet the qualifications to vote. There is an option to opt out.Full Article: State works to start automatic voter signup - Lowell Sun Online.
Massachusetts: State works to implement new automatic voter registration law | Sentinel & Enterprise
Local city and town clerks are looking for guidance as the state develops methods and regulations to automatically register eligible voters in time for the 2020 presidential elections. “I think it’s going to unfold as we get closer,” said Fitchburg City Clerk Anna Farrell. “We want everything to be clear as we move forward.” Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law to enact automatic voter registration earlier in the month. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the Health Connector will be the agencies that automatically register residents who meet the qualifications to vote. There is an option to opt out. Automatic registration is expected to be in place before the next presidential primary, said Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bill Galvin, whose office oversees voting and elections.Full Article: State works to implement new automatic voter registration law - Sentinel & Enterprise.
Massachusetts on Thursday became the 14th state in the country to adopt an automatic voter registration system, according to Secretary of State William Galvin and advocates who backed the measure. Galvin announced that Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they interact with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth, unless they opt out. Galvin said he was “excited to begin preparations today” and expected to have the necessary systems in place on Jan. 1, 2020, “just in time for the next Presidential Primaries.”Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration In Mass. To Begin By 2020, Galvin Says | WBUR News.
The Legislature on Monday sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a bill that would institute automatic voter registration in Massachusetts. Under the bill, an eligible voter who applies for a license or identification card at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or completes a transaction at MassHealth or the Health Connector would be automatically registered to vote. “We think it is one of the strongest automatic voter registration bills in the country,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “If signed by the governor, it will make voting more accurate, secure and participatory.”Full Article: Legislature sends automatic voter registration bill to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk | masslive.com.
Both chambers of the Massachusetts Legislature have passed a bill that would automatically register voters when they interact with a state office. Those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, will be automatically registered to vote and later sent a letter allowing them to choose a political party or opt out of the registration. For voters who are already registered, their information will be automatically updated if they change their address with another state office.
Massachusetts: A vote for noncitizens? Boston City Council president pushes access to rights | Boston Herald
The Boston City Council will consider ways it can let noncitizens vote in city elections tomorrow in a hearing on a controversial measure being pushed by Council President Andrea Campbell. “All members of a community should have the right to participate and be included in the governance of that community,” Campbell’s order states, noting that Boston has a foreign-born population of more than 190,000, or 28 percent. Her order also states that non-U.S. citizens paid $116 million in state and local taxes and generated over $3.4 billion in spending, according to a 2015 city report.Full Article: A vote for noncitizens? Boston City Council prez pushes access to rights | Boston Herald.
Massachusetts’ top court on Monday unanimously upheld a state requirement that people must register to vote 20 days before an election, ruling in a case that could impact the ability of thousands of citizens to cast ballots. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the state’s top election official by reversing a lower court judge’s 2017 ruling that concluded the registration cut-off violated the state’s constitution. The 7-0 ruling by the top court came in a lawsuit filed in 2016 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on behalf of two organizations, Chelsea Collaborative and MassVote, and several individual qualified voters.Full Article: Massachusetts top court upholds 20-day voter registration cut-off | Reuters.
Worried that an issue that has majority support in both legislative chambers could be left on the cutting room floor when formal sessions end, a coalition of 42 organizations has asked House Speaker Robert DeLeo to move an automatic voter registration bill to the floor. Common Cause Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, ACLU Massachusetts, MassPIRG and others pressed DeLeo in a letter to advance a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they interact with a state agency such as the Registry of Motor Vehicles or MassHealth, unless they choose to opt out.Full Article: Coalition pushes for passage of automatic voter registration bill | Local News | gloucestertimes.com.
Early voting earned positive reviews during its inaugural run in Massachusetts, but lawmakers have so far been hesitant about implementing the voter convenience for this year’s primary elections — historically low-turnout affairs in which some incumbents face challengers. “If we are going for good government, good democracy, why are we so hesitant to pass legislation that’s going to do just that?” Cheryl Crawford, executive director of MassVote, told the News Service on Tuesday. “A lot of our elections are won in the primaries.” In interviews, those familiar with the reform say it expanded voting opportunities in the 2016 general election but needs to be adequately funded to ensure that cities and towns of all sizes are able to accommodate voters over what are effectively multiple election days.Full Article: Lawmakers hesitant to apply early voting to primaries - Lowell Sun Online.
A coalition of voting rights groups is urging Massachusetts to adopt automatic voter registration. The Massachusetts proposal, which is pending in a legislative committee, would let the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth automatically register citizens to vote. A person could choose to opt out. What could that look like? Ask Jeanne Atkins. Atkins was the Oregon secretary of state from March 2015 through January 2017 – a period that coincided with the signing of Oregon’s motor voter law and the first election in which it was implemented.Full Article: Oregon blazes a path for Massachusetts on automatic voter registration | masslive.com.
Massachusetts’ top court on Tuesday weighed whether it should declare a requirement that people must register to vote 20 days before an election unconstitutional, in a case that could impact the ability of thousands of citizens to cast ballots. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments in an appeal by the state’s top election official of a ruling by a lower-court judge in July holding that the registration cutoff violates the state’s constitution. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, a Democrat who oversees the state’s elections, appealed the ruling, arguing that the 20-day rule did not impose a severe burden on voting rights.Full Article: Massachusetts top court weighs 20-day voter registration cutoff.
Massachusetts: Supreme Judicial Court to consider voter registration, campaign finance cases | masslive.com
Massachusetts’ highest court will hear arguments Tuesday in two major election-related cases. The Supreme Judicial Court will consider a challenge to a Massachusetts law that requires voters to register at least 20 days before an election. It will also consider a separate case challenging a campaign finance law that prohibits businesses from making political contributions. In the voter registration challenge, Chelsea Collaborative vs. William Galvin, a group of voting rights organizations and individuals argue that a 1993 law requiring voter registration 20 days before an election is unconstitutional.Full Article: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to consider voter registration, campaign finance cases | masslive.com.