Massachusetts voters' ability to safely cast a ballot in November is in jeopardy. Our election system is just not set up for a huge surge in absentee ballots. As a result, overworked and under-resourced local election officials, who do everything by hand, will not be able to keep up. Just like we've seen in other states this spring, thousands of Massachusetts voters may not get the ballots they request. Mailing all registered voters a ballot, with no application required and a prepaid return envelope, will ensure that everyone can safely vote.
The time is now to urge your legislators to support Vote By Mail (VBM)
. Please email your state Senator and Representative and ask them to support
)—the bill that LWVMA and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition filed two weeks ago which would send all registered voters a ballot for the November general election. You can find your legislators' email addresses below;
email is better than phone calls or letters
while legislators are working remotely.
First Franklin, Consisting of Ashfield; Buckland; Conway; Deerfield; Leverett; Montague; Shelburne; Shutesbury; Sunderland; Whately; Chester (Hampden Co.); Chesterfield (Hampshire Co.); Cummington (Hampshire Co); Goshen (Hampshire Co); Huntington (Hampshire Co.); Middlefield (Hampshire Co); Plainfield (Hampshire Co.); Williamsburg (Hampshire Co.); Worthington (Hampshire Co.)
Second Berkshire—Consisting of Dalton; Hinsdale; Peru; Pittsfield: Ward 1: Precinct B; Savoy; Windsor; Bernardston (Franklin Co.); Charlemont (Franklin Co.); Colrain (Franklin Co.); Greenfield (Franklin Co.); Hawley (Franklin Co.); Heath (Franklin Co.); Leyden (Franklin Co.); Monroe (Franklin Co.); Northfield (Franklin Co.); Rowe (Franklin Co.)
Second Franklin—Consisting of Erving; Gill; New Salem; Orange; Warwick; Wendell; Belchertown: Precinct A (Hampshire Co.); Athol (Worcester Co.); Petersham (Worcester Co.); Phillipston (Worcester Co.); Royalston (Worcester Co.); Templeton (Worcester Co.)
Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester—Consisting of the city of Northampton and the towns of Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield, Pelham and South Hadley in the county of Hampshire; the towns of Bernardston, Colrain, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell and Whately in the county of Franklin; and the town of Royalston in the county of Worcester
Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden—Consisting of the cities and towns in the county of Berkshire; the towns of Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington in the county of Hampshire; and the towns of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne in the county of Franklin; and the towns of Blandford and Chester in the county of Hampden
TIMING IS CRITICAL
: The legislature must act now for systems to be in place for the Sept. 1 primary election and Nov. 3 general election. The primary election is 100 days from Sunday.
In-person voting will still be an option, and the bill requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to adopt regulations to safeguard the health of voters and election workers at the polls.
Other provisions of the bill include:
- Expand early voting in person to two weeks before the Sept. 1 state primary election and three weeks before the Nov. 3 election
- Cut the deadline to register to vote in the two elections from the current 20 days to 10 days
- Create an online portal for voters to apply for absentee ballots
- Establish that concern about COVID-19 qualifies as a "physical disability" and permits any concerned voter to vote by absentee ballot
- Permit local election officials to scan absentee and early voting ballots in their offices before election day, rather than deliver them to individual polling places to be counted on election day; no results will be determined or announced before polls close.
The Election Modernization Coalition includes LWVMA, Common Cause, ACLU Massachusetts, MassVOTE, MassPIRG, Massachusetts Voter Table, and Lawyers for Civil Rights.
See the League's testimony on this bill
. See the Election Modernization Coalition's testimony
. Questions? Contact
LWVMA Legislative Action Chair.