COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 15, 2021
Massachusetts Legislature Extends Vote-By-Mail Through June
BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives and state Senate on Thursday March 11, 2021, passed legislation to extend mail-in voting and early voting options for elections held through the end of June 2021. The vote-by-mail provision was previously set to expire at the end of March 2021.
“As other states across our country work to disenfranchise their voters, I am proud Massachusetts is choosing to extend and enhance efforts to ensure every eligible resident can exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot in our local elections, stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “With a record number of ballots casted in 2020, our successful vote-by-mail system increased access and protected our most vulnerable residents from putting their health at risk. I would like to thank Senators Rodrigues, Finegold, Lewis and Creem as well as Speaker Mariano and my colleagues in the House for their collaboration on this bill and look forward to this extension of voting options becoming law.”
“I proudly joined my Senate colleagues to pass legislation extending voting-by-mail and early voting in Massachusetts,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “With Spring town elections on the horizon, we must provide these vital tools so everyone can carry out their civic duties while staying safe and healthy.”
“Ensuring access to the polls is a vital part of democracy, and I am happy that the Legislature has taken this important step to ensure upcoming local elections can move forward safely without disruption,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thank you to Senate President Spilka and Senator Finegold for their leadership on this issue, and thank you to my colleagues in the Legislature for supporting equitable access to voting for all residents of the Commonwealth, including individuals with disabilities.”
“Voting reforms like mail-in voting and expanded early in-person voting have been critical to ensuring that all voters can safely and conveniently exercise their right to vote during the pandemic,” said Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), lead Senate sponsor of the legislation. “I’m very grateful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate for the strong bipartisan support of this bill and look forward to working together to hopefully pass further legislation later this session to make these voting reforms permanent.”
The bill also allows municipalities to provide residents with the option to vote early in-person in these elections. Additionally, the legislation requires local election officials to make reasonable efforts to grant accommodations for voters with disabilities who might have difficulty accessing a paper mail-in ballot and request an accommodation. Furthermore, cities and towns can postpone municipal elections and caucuses scheduled before June 30, 2021 until August 1, 2021.
The bill now advances to the Governor for consideration.