The state Senate on Jan. 16 passed election-reform legislation that authorizes early voting for state and federal elections and primaries; allows residents to register to vote on Election Day; and creates an online voter registration system, according to a press release.
Local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz has pushed for many of the reforms contained in the bill and was an author to some of its provisions.
The bill also allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote; requires audits of voting machines; and provides for the automatic re-registration of voters when they move within the state.
“Increasing civic participation is a core mission for me as the state senator for the Second Suffolk District” said Chang-Díaz, according to the press release. “The bill passed by the Senate takes important strides toward a more inclusive commonwealth, removing unnecessary barriers to the ballot box.”
Annie Rousseau, co-chair of JP Progressives, said the bill is a “great victory” for all citizens of the state.
“What makes our democracy work is voter participation and anything we can do to increase voter turnout and civic engagement is extremely important,” she said. “In areas such as Jamaica Plain and other areas where there are high student populations or economic factors that contribute to people moving a lot, this will make a big difference.”
The Senate legislation (S.1981) and a House bill (H.3788) will now head to a conference committee.