Yesterday was the 52nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. And it was an important reminder that we still have work to do.
Two weeks ago, in a major win for democracy, the Suffolk Superior Court ruled that Massachusetts’s 20-day voter registration deadline is unconstitutional, noting that it arbitrarily and unnecessarily excludes thousands from the democratic process.
Unfortunately, not everyone is cheering the decision. Secretary of State Bill Galvin is planning to appeal the ruling, suggesting that it would create “chaos” for town and city clerks if people could register closer to an election, despite the fact that we are in the 21st century.
But it gets worse. While Galvin is parading around Massachusetts and getting good press for supposedly opposing the Trump agenda by (rightfully) refusing to provide voter information to the Trump-created “Election Integrity” Commission, he has also been peddling the same dangerous voter fraud myths that Trump and Republicans have been pushing on the national level and in states seeking to roll back voting rights.
We can’t allow that here. Massachusetts is the only state in New England without some form of Election Day Registration (EDR). It has worked for our neighbors, and it would work here. And it’s one of the most reliable ways to increase turnout.
Call/Email Secretary Galvin (617-727-9180; firstname.lastname@example.org) now to demand that he drop his appeal, and that he stop spreading lies about Election Day Registration.
But there’s more that you can do to fight for voting rights.
We have the opportunity this session to pass two key bills that will strengthen our democracy:
H.2091/S.373 (Automatic Voter Registration) would bring our elections into the 21st century by automatically registering citizens who interact with government agencies (“opt-out” instead of “opt-in”).
H.2093/S.371 (Election Day Registration) would make sure no eligible citizen is prevented from voting on Election Day.
Massachusetts often lags behind our peers when it comes to voting rights, and these bills can help change that. Our democracy is strongest when everyone is able to participate.
Call your legislators now to demand that they co-sponsor these essential bills and lobby their colleagues and Leadership to do so as well.
Let’s not just play catch-up–let’s start serving as a model for other states.