May 22, 2014
Following the House and Senate passage of the final election reform bill last week the Governor signed the legislation into law today. The legislation includes early voting, online voter registration, post-election audits of voting machines, and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year-olds.
“We congratulate the Governor on signing the election modernization bill into law. This is a great day for voting rights in the Commonwealth” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE.
Massachusetts is set to join 23 other states in passing online voter registration, which has been shown to not only increase registration rates but is also a big cost-saver – in AZ the cost of processing a paper registration form is 83¢ versus 3¢ for an online voter registration. Online voter registrations are verified using information in the Registry of Motor Vehicles database.
Thirty-two states offer some form of early voting. Massachusetts looks to add early voting for both gubernatorial and presidential general elections for 11 business days prior to the date of the election.
Post-election audits, employed in 26 states, are a best-practice that ensures vote counting machines are tallying results properly. By auditing 3% of the precincts after presidential elections, voters can have greater confidence in the integrity of the voting system.
Pre-registration increases voter registration amongst the youngest voters. By pre-registering 16 and 17 year-olds at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and in high school classes, we can empower youth to vote when they turn 18. Studies show that voting is habit-forming. The earlier people start to vote, the more likely they will continue to vote into adulthood. Massachusetts will join 14 states that have pre-registration.
This session MassVOTE helped convene a Massachusetts-based Election Modernization Coalition which is comprised of 45 advocacy groups that pushed for a strong comprehensive bill this year. The coalition is led by (in alphabetical order) ACLU Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, MassVOTE, the MA Voter Table, the MIRA Coalition, and Progressive Massachusetts.
“MassVOTE has been advocating for these election reforms for a long time. We were pleased to stand with the Governor and state legislative champions today to see this historic bill signed into law,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE.