A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state requirement that eligible voters register at least 20 days ahead of an election is being heard in court this week, with critics saying the law disenfranchises thousands of potential voters every election. Opponents of the cutoff — including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts — are urging the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to order the state to end its enforcement, saying the law arbitrarily denies citizens their right to vote. Opponents are trying to bolster their argument by pointing to the state’s adoption of early voting last year. That change allowed voters to begin casting ballots on Oct. 24, just five days after the Oct. 19 registration cutoff. They say that undercuts the rationale that the state needs to end the registration of voters 20 days before Election Day.
Defenders of the rule say the 20-day cutoff remains an important tool for the orderly management of the election process in Massachusetts.
… In a court document, Attorney General Maura Healey said her office and the office of state Secretary William Galvin — both Democrats — are willing to work with the Legislature to make changes to the law. Galvin oversees elections.
Healey, charged with defending state laws, also argued the 20-day cutoff is constitutional, calling it “a reasonable and nondiscriminatory method for regulating state elections.” A spokeswoman for Healey said she personally supports same-day registration.