Boston City Council backs vote-by-mail, same-day registration for city elections – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-07-22 11:04:21 –


The two home rule petitions require approval from state legislators to take root.

Scott Eisen / Bloomberg

On Wednesday, Boston City Councilors approved two home rule petitions that would allow voters to register on election dates and continue with early voting and mailing options for city elections, with the support of state legislators.

Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who sponsored both proposals, said the measure would help remove the barriers to the historically deprived population. Arroyo submitted both In April, we worked with the NAACP Boston Chapter, the Federal Secretary-General, and the City Elections Bureau.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, the councilor unanimously upheld the petition to make voters of the popular early voting and mailing voting options used in last year’s elections permanent.

A second petition that allowed voters to register and vote on the same day passed 11-1, and Councilor Frank Baker voted against it.

“There are 20 states already doing this,” Arroyo said of the same day registration process. “We are not one of them, but as the data show, this should really increase voter participation and voter involvement.”

A Policy briefs released last month by researchers at UMass Amherst and think tank demos It was found that states with the same day voter registration law usually have higher turnout for black and Latin voters than states without it.

Black voters average 2-17% higher turnout in states with book legislation, while Latin voters average 0.1-17.5% higher.

“It is not possible to estimate the exact causal link between implementing SDR (Same-day Registration), but these findings suggest that SDR is an important reform to be implemented in all states.” UMass professors of political science Jesse Rhodes and Laura Williamson, senior policy analysts at the demonstration, wrote briefly.

A voter registration home rule petition approved by the council allows voters to register and vote on election days. In particular, it does not provide eligible voters with the ability to register and vote on the same day during the early voting period — a distinction informed by input from the electoral authorities.

“If there are early voting, mail balloting, etc. and a person is registered, that’s a lot to handle by (election workers),” said Councilor Lydia Edwards, chairman of the Government Steering Committee. Said. “So they actually think they can handle it and believe it makes more sense to be on election day.”

According to the Home Rule Petition, voters registering on Election Day will sign an affidavit confirming their eligibility to vote and submit a valid photo ID or other documents showing their current address. need to do it.

“It’s just like accessing RMV now or signing on online,” Arroyo said.

The bill also explicitly prohibits registered voters from re-registering solely for the purpose of changing the affiliation of a political party.

In other home rule petitions, registered voters may mail or vote early without any special reason.

The two petitions are not yet legal, but state legislators appear to be motivated to reform the electoral system.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts General Assembly chose to continue early voting until December 15, as part of an additional $ 261.6 million budget for fiscal year 2021, first for coronavirus health. The practice has been extended since it was implemented. Last year’s crisis.

“Today’s passage of supplementary budget with provisions to extend mailing and early voting options promises that both the Senate and the House of Representatives will ensure that all voices are heard in our democracy. In a statement, Cindy Cream, the Senate majority leader of the Democratic Party of Newton, is particularly important in light of recent legislation passed in many states to restrict access to voters. “In addition, today’s action to provide for a temporary extension of these provisions provides Congress with an opportunity to undertake a more comprehensive voting reform later in this session, and I look forward to that discussion. I will. “

Boston City Council backs vote-by-mail, same-day registration for city elections Source link Boston City Council backs vote-by-mail, same-day registration for city elections

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