President's Election Commission highlights need for election modernization in Massachusetts

Written by Tyler Creighton on January 30, 2014

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The Massachusetts Election Modernization Coalition released the following press release on the recent report published by the President's Commission on Election Administration and the need for election modernization in Massachusetts.



January 30, 2014


Pam Wilmot, Common Cause Massachusetts

(617) 426-9600 work, (617) 962-0034 cell

Sara Brady, MassVOTE

(617) 542-8683 work, (707) 495-9372 cell

President's Commission on Election Administration highlights need for election modernization legislation in Massachusetts

Conference Committee should adopt recommended reforms and more

State legislators should make enacting the recommendations of the President's Commission on Election Administration a top priority, along with other elections reforms passed by the Massachusetts Senate, the Election Modernization Coalition of Massachusetts said today.

After witnessing outrageously long lines in 2012 at hundreds of polling places across the country, including some in Massachusetts, President Obama convened a Commission on Election Administration tasked with determining ways to shorten lines and establishing overall best practices in election administration. The bipartisan Commission recently published its findings and president Obama mentioned them in his State of the Union Address this week.

"Modernizing our election laws to make voting more convenient, efficient, and accessible to all is critical," said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. "There is just no excuse for the two- or three-hour waits and other problems that many urban voters experienced in our state and across the country on Election Day 2012."

With bipartisan consensus, the Commission recommended a number of legislative and regulatory actions to ensure more modern, efficient, and responsive administrative performance in the conduct of elections, including online voter registration, early voting, permanent voter registration and post-election audits of election equipment. These recommendations, and other reforms supported by the Coalition, passed in the Senate (S.1981) earlier this month. Two, online voter registration and a more modest early voting proposal, passed the House in late 2013. Post-election audits and voter pre-registration passed the House in 2012.

"The Commission's findings validated what many of us already knew. Massachusetts is not utilizing proven procedures to ensure a more voter accessible, efficient and accurate process such as online voter registration, audits of election equipment, early voting and permanent registration. The legislature should pass these, and the other reforms adopted by the Senate, as soon as possible," said Sara Brady, Policy Director at MassVOTE.

Earlier this week, the Senate President and House Speaker appointed conferees to the Conference Committee that will reconcile the differences between election modernization bills passed by the Senate and House. Senator Barry Finegold, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Robert Hedlund, Representative Michael Moran, Representative James Murphy, and Representative Paul Frost are the six conferees.

The Election Modernization Coalition called on the conference committee to adopt the Commission's recommendations in addition to other provisions passed by the Senate including Election Day registration, pre-registration, and inactive voting reform.

A full copy of the President's Commission report is available here.

The Election Modernization Coalition is comprised of 45 advocacy groups and led by, in alphabetical order, ACLU Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, the MIRA Coalition, and Progressive Massachusetts.

Office: Common Cause National, Common Cause Massachusetts

Issues: Voting and Elections, Voting and Elections

Tags: Registration and Voting Systems, Election Modernization

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