The VOTES Act Unpacked: Mail-In Voting

Over the coming weeks, we will break down the VOTES Act and do a deep dive to each reform this omnibus election bill includes. We’re kicking things off this week by taking a deeper dive into mail-in voting.

Despite the pandemic, there was a record number of 3.7 million ballots cast in Massachusetts last November. Of those ballots, 1.5 million (42% of all ballots) were cast using the most popular form of voting: mail-in voting.

Mail-in voting has been in the news and fought over as if it were a partisan issue. The reality is it’s not. Researchers agreed last year that expanded mail-in voting doesn’t benefit any political party over another. What’s more, it’s a reform that makes it easier for all voters to participate. Simply put, mail-in voting is pro-voter and not pro-party.

Here’s what else you need to know about mail-in voting:

  • Over 1.5 million voters participated in the 2020 general election in Massachusetts with a mail-in ballot.
  • Mail-in voting is secure. There is virtually no evidence of the kind of fraud alleged by mail-in voting opponents.
  • Implementing mail-in voting last fall required the state build infrastructure like an online portal that will go to waste if the VOTES Act is not passed.
  • 5 states used full vote-by-mail prior to the fall 2020 elections (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and 33 states plus D.C. offered some form of mail-in voting.

Finally, mail-in voting is widely popular. From the Secretary of Commonwealth to House and Senate leadership and even the Boston Globe editorial board, critical stakeholders in Massachusetts have voiced their support for making mail-in voting permanent.

Mail-in voting options are set to expire June 30th unless we can pass the VOTES Act to make it permanent. Mail-in voting reduced a significant barrier to participation last fall and helped Massachusetts citizens participate in record numbers. Let’s not move backward.

We need to keep up the momentum — help us amplify mail-in voting on social media by using the hashtag #VOTESAct. If you want to take the next step, you can contact our assistant director Kristina Mensik for help drafting and placing a letter to the editor ( or by going to this page.

Next week we’ll be taking a deeper look into making early in-person voting expansions permanent. Stay tuned!

See More: Voting & Elections