Massachusetts Senate Passes Automatic Voter Registration

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
MASSACHUSETTS SENATE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133

Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 12, 2018

Massachusetts Senate Passes Automatic Voter Registration

BOSTON – Today, the Massachusetts Senate passed H.4671, An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud. The legislation creates a framework in which eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the Registry of Motor vehicles, MassHealth, and other participating state agencies. The framework will be overseen and implemented by the Secretary of State.

“Automatic voter registration will engage more eligible citizens in the voting process in a safe and secure manner,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “The Commonwealth will now have a valuable tool to help prevent voter fraud, as well as create more opportunity for citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

“It should be the state’s burden to register voters – not yours,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “Long work hours and confusion about the registration process are barriers for many citizens. Thousands of Massachusetts citizens are eligible to vote today, but aren’t registered. Registering to vote must be as simple as possible, and this legislation implements a process where any eligible citizen receiving certain state services is automatically registered. Today is a major victory for voting rights and social justice.”

The legislation also bolsters voter-data security. It updates the requirements for transmission of voter registration affidavits and requires the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations to ensure registration is done through electronic transmission, with data security protocols and integration with the online portals.

The legislation increases penalties associated with voter fraud. It orders that whoever knowingly provides false information in connection with automatic voter registration shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years or both.

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