The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation that establishes early voting for presidential elections and provides resources to local officials and residents to make the voting process more efficient.
Early voting for presidential elections will begin in 2016. It is expected to significantly decrease wait times on Election Day and allow more individuals to vote. The bill also creates a secure online portal through which individuals can register and view their registration status.
“This bill improves voting efficiency and helps give citizens across the Commonwealth a voice,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “Massachusetts has a rich history of civic involvement and I believe this legislation brings us one step closer to ensuring all individuals can participate in the voting process. No one should be denied a vote because of a hardship or responsibility. I thank Chairman Murphy for his comprehensive and forward-thinking work on such an important topic.”
“Massachusetts has always been a leader, both in terms of our government and its people,” said Representative James Murphy (D – Weymouth), Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws. “This legislation will further encourage voter participation by allowing for online voter registration and early voting. This will alleviate long lines on Election Day as well as enable people to vote in this ever busy world.”
Early voting will take place ten business days prior to presidential elections in accordance with regular business hours of the municipal office. Following the 2016 election, a task force will issue a report including information on costs, administrative requirements, voter turnout and the lines at polling places.
The online portal allows new applicants to register and existing voters to change their address, look up their polling place and confirm they are registered. The system will streamline the voter registration process and is expected to cut costs.