Advocates Urge Swift Passage
BOSTON – Senator Cindy Creem and Representative John Lawn have filed legislation that the Election Modernization Coalition heralded as the most comprehensive next step for Massachusetts elections. Read the bill summary here.
The legislation, “An Act Fostering Voting Opportunities, Trust, Equity, and Security,” or “the VOTES Act” would make permanent many of the short-term reforms implemented for elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing all eligible voters to request a mail ballot and expanding early voting options. The VOTES Act also: establishes same-day voter registration; ensures that eligible voters who are incarcerated are able to request a mail ballot and vote; and creates a risk-limiting audit system to replace Massachusetts’ dated method of post-election audits. Risk-limiting audits are considered “the gold standard” and have already been implemented in Colorado, Georgia, and Rhode Island. The legislation would also require the Secretary of Commonwealth to implement Automatic Voter Registration as passed by the Legislature in 2018, to better streamline voter registration.
The Election Modernization Coalition is comprised of longtime advocates who championed early voting, online voter registration, Automatic Voter Registration, and the legislation passed in the summer of 2020 to respond to the COVID pandemic. According to the Coalition, the Creem-Lawn Bill comes at a critical moment. After months of misinformation and disinformation about the nation’s elections, outright attacks on US democracy, and a movement for racial justice that once again highlighted existing racism and racial inequity in the nation, this legislation offers concrete solutions that are badly-needed in the Commonwealth.
House bill is available here.
Senate bill is available here.