Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act

I realize there’s not much time left in the current legislative session and that there are probably more than a few good bills that won’t quite make it through the legislative process in time.  I hope that the Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act (H 651 and S. 348), can be one of those that do make it through.

If enacted, this legislation will fix and improve many of the problems in the way cast and count ballots. These reforms will improve the average voter’s experience at the polls, encourage more people to vote, and give us state-of-the art election laws.

As a nationally recognized leader in instituting good public policy in so many areas, there’s no reason why Massachusetts should lag behind so many states our election laws. The Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act’s key provisions include:

• Allowing voters to register on Election Day.
• Allow members of the armed services request and receive ballots via e-mail.
• Require that the Commonwealth continue to use paper ballots and to randomly audit election equipment after elections, including optical scanners.
• Allow 16 and a half year-olds to pre-register to vote when they getting a driver’s license.
• Require inexpensive closed captioning for campaign television commercials.
• Prohibit deceptive practices (i.e. distributing literature that says ‘Republicans vote on Tuesday, Democrats vote on Wednesday).
• Improve poll worker training.

Each of the provisions in the legislation is already in practice elsewhere – these are tried and tested reforms that will enhance the experience of both voters and election administrators alike.

Published by Michael Arnott

Cambridge Resident of Cornerstone Village Co-housing.

6 replies on “Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act”

    1. I have found out that the Senate version of the Freedom to Vote bill (S348) was put into a study order by the Election Laws Committee on March 15. The House version, H651, was put into study on July 13. This effectively means that no action will be taken this session and the bills will probably be refiled in some form in January.
      Barbara Miranda, Legislative Aide

      1. Will, I hope you will be a co-sponsor of a refiled Freedom to Vote bill in the next session of the legislature. I believe all of the key provisions of the bill would contribute to making our democracy more democratic.

  1. Will,

    This another bill I encourage you to vote against.

    This Bill as well as the NVP are just ploys to steal elections!

    What is the advantage to let someone same day register?

    because there is no way of checking if this person is legitimate and the anonymous ballot has already been cast.

    Ballots by email? are you kidding me! anything by email has NO security

    please do everything you can to squash the NPV and this vote fraus bill!

  2. Jim/Mike,

    I think this package is a mixed bag.

    I like the early registration — getting more kids signed up and oriented to voting when they reach the lawful age is clearly a good thing. So are training and fraud prevention ideas.

    I’m less comfortable with same day registration — especially for local candidates, it is important to be able to reach out to voters in a campaign and if people don’t have to register until election day, they won’t be on voting lists and won’t get literature.

    On things like emailing ballots, I’d want to hear from the clerks and the Secretary of State about how the process would work. Clearly, we don’t want voting by email, but sending out ballots might be OK.

    I’ll keep listening on this one.

  3. Will,

    I would like someone who supports this bill to explain how you
    could possibly verify then legitimacy of someone showing up at the polls, registering and casting their ballot. Once that ballot is cast there is no way of taking it back if that person is found to be uneligable to vote.

    Or is that goal of the supporters of this bill?

    I feel there is PLENTY of time before an election to make sure you are registered and it’s your personal responsibilty to make sure you are. If you don’t it’s your own fault, that’s the price you pay to make sure only people eligible to vote do and to insure the election is not corrupt.

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