Back in November, voters in many Massachusetts cities had to wait up to three hours to vote on Election Day. While we did not face the seven hour lines present in some battleground states, as President Obama said in his inaugural address, “our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
The truth is our voting system is badly out of date, and Massachusetts is behind many other states for a variety of reasons. We do not have election day voter registration. We do not have early voting. We do not have “no fault” absentee voting. Heck, we’re one of only 9 states that does not offer an online tool for verifying registration status. We need a voting system built for the 21st century.
Tell your state legislators to say no to long lines. Ask them to cosponsor commonsense election law reforms like early voting, no excuse absentee ballots, and voter registration verification so we can ensure that voting is free, fair, and accessible!
Early voting and no fault absentee voting reduce voter traffic at the polls by spreading voting over a number of days and allowing people to vote by mail. Online voter registration verification also shortens Election Day lines by reducing voter confusion about polling locations and registration. In addition to shortening lines, we need to verify election results with post-election audits, modernize voter registration and clamp down on deceptive practices.
Bills to enact all of these reforms have already been filed and Senate President Theresa Murray has promised to be a strong advocate. Let’s build on this momentum.
President Obama was right in his inaugural address and when he said “we need to fix that” on election night, referring to the long lines and problems with voting in many states. Let’s heed that call and pass comprehensive election reform here in Massachusetts.
-The team at Common Cause Massachusetts