Election Modernization Coalition Press Release on Election Day Registration Lobby Day
- Pam Wilmot
Voting rights supporters flock to the State House for The Election Modernization Coalition’s Election Day Registration Lobby Day (EDR)
BOSTON, MA – Voting rights activists from around the Commonwealth gathered at the State House to voice their support at the Election Modernization Coalition’s Election Day Registration lobby day on Wednesday, June 5th.
The EDR Legislation introduced by Rep. Jen Benson, Rep. Liz Malia and Sen. Cynthia Creem (H. 636, H. 685 & S. 396) would establish a system for Massachusetts voting-eligible citizens that would allow them with proof of residency to register or fix errors in their current registration on Election Day and during the early voting period. The policy has enjoyed tremendous success in 20 states and was first passed as early as 1973 in Maine and Minnesota.
Election Day Registration has received support from state leaders including Secretary of State Bill Galvin and Attorney General Maura Healey. On the federal level, the whole Massachusetts Congressional Delegation has cast their support for HR1 which includes EDR.
“Voting is a hallmark of democracy, and equal access to the ballot is the most fundamental right. Election Day Registration has been proven to increase participation for voters who are younger, lower-income, and people of color, ensuring more people are able to participate in our democracy,” said Rahsaan Hall Racial Justice Program Director for the ACLU of Massachusetts.
“The League of Women Voters strongly supports Election Day Registration to make it easier for citizens to participate in our democracy. At a time when states across the country are passing laws reducing access to the ballot box, it is important for Massachusetts to continue to lead in positive election reforms,” said Mary Ann Ashton, president, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.
“Given that the average American moves more than 11 times over the course of their lives, moving near Election Day could lead to disenfranchisement under the current system. Likewise, given the stress of school, work, family, and myriad other commitments, many voters may first start to learn about an election after the registration window has passed. Election Day Registration is a simple, proven solution,” said Jonathan Cohn Issues Chair of Progressive Massachusetts.
“If we want to guarantee every single eligible voter the right to vote, this is an essential and major part to completing that mission. We cannot continue to disenfranchise our own voters,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director, MassVOTE.
“Implementing EDR in Massachusetts is a critical step to curbing deep structural barriers to the ballot box for voters of color in the Commonwealth,” said Sophia Hall, Supervising Attorney at Lawyers for Civil Rights.
“It has never been more important to protect and strengthen our democratic institutions. Election Day Registration is a simple and common sense reform that will increase voter participation and ensure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot. It has been working well in 20 other states and will do so here in Massachusetts,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts.
“When poll watching last November, we saw countless people turned away from the polls or issued provisional ballots because they moved recently. Election Day Registration will help thousands of voters cast their ballots, including young people moving to Massachusetts in search of opportunities and communities of color, working families, and low-income people displaced from their homes because of rising rents,” said Beth Huang, Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table.
The Election Modernization Coalition is made up of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, MassVOTE, and more.