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.
Articles about voting issues in Massachusetts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.