Early Voting and other election reforms (H 3772)

I’m glad to see the House passed H 3772 (Early voting) and I hope the Senate works on passing it as well. It’s about time we made it easier for people to vote — we are way behind many other states in this area.

Editors note, May 23, 2014: Please see this post for information on the final outcome in this legislative fight.

I have two concerns about the current text of the law: 1) The current text allows for 10 days of early voting and says that cities/towns “may” extend early voting outside of normal business hours, but is this language strong enough? I’m hoping that early voting will make it possible for people to vote on the weekend before the election or on evenings after work in the week before election day — is it expected that local election officials will offer weekend/evening early voting without stronger language requiring them to do so? 2) It’s unclear to me whether there will be any provision for adding same-day registration or pre-registration for 17 year olds. It looks like Rep. Lewis offered an amendment to at least study that and it looks like the amendment passed, but it doesn’t appear that the language is in the bill that passed the House. Both same-day registration and pre-registration for those who will soon reach voting age seem like good reforms to pursue in the cause of making voting more convenient.


5 replies on “Early Voting and other election reforms (H 3772)”

  1. Thanks, Paul. I think the most important and agreed part of this legislation is the early voting. Same-day registration and teen pre-registration raise more practical issues for the city and town clerks and their existing systems. I’m expecting that the Senate will address this group of issues next year and I’ll write more then.

  2. Really glad to see some progress being made on early voting and online registration.

    I would also like to see reform of the 20-day-before-election registration deadline. My understanding is that the current delay is for processing reasons, which may become less relevant with online registration anyway. At least, allow provisional ballots for new registrations within three weeks of the election.

    This came up during the municipal election this year because the deadline for registration was September 4th, just 3 days after a large percentage of the city’s population changed residences. It would be nice to have more time to get people registered to vote.

    But either way, from a quick read of the bill, it looks like an improvement over the status quo.

  3. Will – just wondering because it isn’t clear, will you be addressing the concern of Wardens and Poll Workers that are not now allowed to vote Absentee if they work at the Polls on the day of the election even it they are not in the Precinct where they vote?


  4. Ernie,

    I think that the finally passed election reform will solve that problem. Poll workers will be able to vote “early”, which is different from voting “absentee” — but only for the elections in which we are doing early voting, which so far is only the bienneial generals.

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