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.