During the week of January 13, the State Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Election Reform Bill that was previously approved by the House.
The Senate bill includes just about every significant improvement in voting procedures: Election Day registration, early voting with some required weekend hours, pre-registration for 16-year-olds, online voter registration and an online portal where citizens can check their voting status, and post-election audits of random precincts. It ties classification of a voter as inactive to voting history rather than to returning the town or city census form. Amendments to require voters to show a photo ID or other forms of identification before casting a ballot were defeated.
We hope the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate bills keeps all of these important reforms and makes Massachusetts a leader in the nation in voting rights, an important distinction at a time when states around the country are passing laws restricting voting rights.
If you’d like to read the final text of the election reform bill, it is H.3788. The Senate amended and voted on S.1975, and then the text of S.1975 became the new text of the House-passed bill, H.3788. It’s a bit confusing!