Election Law Reforms

I’ve recently received a number of emails urging me to sign on to legislation related to election Law reforms. The list appears below.

My biggest concern is to avoid the long lines which occurred at the last Presidential election and I’ve cosponsored the Murray/Straus early voting bill.

I will also cosponsor the Finegold package which has many positive elements and will be a good basis for discussion.

I’m less comfortable with election day registration (which could make the lines worse) and online registration (which I don’t think we are completely ready for).

Please cosponsor election reform legislation to modernize the voter registration process, secure election results, and ensure that no voter has to wait an hour or more in line on Election Day. I think it is unacceptable that so many voters in Massachusetts waited in line up to three hours to vote this past November. I hope you will cosponsor legislation to address that problem and make voting even better in the Commonwealth. Specifically, I urge you to cosponsor the following legislation:

SD01562 (Sen. Finegold)—A comprehensive bill with early voting, audits of election equipment, voter registration modernization, pre-registration of 16 year-olds, and more.

SD00001, HD00048 (Sen. Murray and Rep. Straus)—State constitutional amendments to allow for no-excuse absentee voting and early voting.

SD00436, HD02543 (Sen. Clark and Rep. Garbally)—Allows for online voter registration and registration verification.

SD01139, HD02545 (Sen. Creem and Rep. Fox)—Establishes Election Day voter registration.

See earlier discussion of these issues at this link.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

3 replies on “Election Law Reforms”

  1. Thank you for addressing your positions on these bills at the recent Ward 21 Democrats meeting. Your explanation was convincing.

    Ideally, I would like to see an election system that provides a greater chance of third-party success. I think “Duverger’s Law” is correct: direct single-seat plurality elections guarantee that there will be only two parties in serious contention for significant offices. There are many reasonable ways of running elections other than direct single-seat plurality.

    However, I recognize that there isn’t a critical mass of public support behind such measures. In fact, just about no one has ever heard of them. At this point, all I ask of you is awareness that various other possibilities exist.

  2. Dan, thank you.

    I actually share your interest in a direct election with run-off to guaranty a majority winner — I think that may help reduce polarization. If you have information on how that is working elsewhere, I’m interested.

  3. Hi Will

    I agree with you on the runoff component, and there is a way to provide for this in a single election, which goes by a couple of different names — most commonly Instant Runoff Voting and Ranked Choice Voting. Have you studied this voting system? I’ve been an advocate for a number of years.

    Besides a variant being used in Cambridge for multi-seat elections, It has been adopted in about a dozen cities around the country since 2000 — including Minneapolis, St. Paul, San Francisco, Oakland, and Portland, Maine.

    I’ve written some op-eds on the topic, here:

    Boston Herald (archived there, so here is my reprint):

    Boston Globe:

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