Election Day Registration (EDR) Lobby Day Brought Constituents and Attorney General to Advocate for Reform
BOSTON, MA –Organizations and Massachusetts residents dedicated to enhancing voting rights from around the Commonwealth gathered at the State House Tuesday, Jan. 28, to advocate for Election Day Registration, also known as Same-Day Registration.
The EDR legislation introduced by Rep. Jen Benson, Rep. Liz Malia and Sen. Cynthia Creem (H. 636, H. 685 and S. 396) ensures that all eligible Massachusetts citizens with proof of residency are able to register to vote or fix errors in their current registration on Election Day and during the early voting period and then cast their ballot. The policy has 46-year history of protecting the right to vote, expanding participation in elections by an average of five percent, and reducing the work and costs associated with provisional ballots. It is now used in 21 states and Washington, DC.
Election Day Registration has received support from Massachusetts leaders including Secretary of State William Galvin and Attorney General Maura Healey. Healey attended the lobby day and underscored the importance of this reform for voting and civil rights. On the federal level, the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation has supported a federal bill which includes EDR.
“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 21 other states and will do so here in Massachusetts” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director, Common Cause Massachusetts.
“Over the past decade, we have made immense progress in overcoming structural barriers that prevent individuals from voting in Massachusetts, fighting for and implementing policies like early voting, online registration, and automatic voter registration,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MassVOTE. “Making EDR law is the next logical step that we may take to make our democracy as robust and diverse as possible here in the Commonwealth. It’s well past time that we follow more than 20 other states and make EDR a reality.”
“We are all better off when more people participate in our democracy,” said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “With voter suppression efforts at full tilt nationwide, Massachusetts has the opportunity to expand access to the ballot. By allowing people to register or update their voter registration on Election Day, we eliminate arbitrary barriers to voting that impact everyone and purposefully give voice to marginalized—and often disenfranchised—communities.”
Jonathan Cohn of Progressive Massachusetts said, “2020 will be an important year for fighting for our democracy at all levels. And, yes, that means here in Massachusetts too. Each election, thousands of voters are turned away because of our arbitrary 20-day voter registration cutoff. It’s time to join our neighbors and allow for Election Day Registration.”
“The League of Women Voters strongly supports Election Day Registration because it reduces barriers to voting, making it easier for citizens to fully participate in our democracy. Massachusetts has made progress in enacting common-sense election reforms such as Automatic Voter Registration. The next logical step is implementing Election Day Registration,” said Mary Ann Ashton, co-president, League of Women Voters of 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, Massachusetts Voter Table.
“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, Lawyers for Civil Rights.
“We are starting to feel a little bit like Horton the Elephant, to be honest. We have been sitting on this bill for too long. We truly hope it is the year that this bill hatches into a much-needed law,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director, MASSPIRG.
The Election Modernization Coalition is led by ACLU of Massachusetts, Common Cause Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, and Progressive Massachusetts.
- A 40-year track record of success.
- States with EDR see on average a 4 to 7 percent increase in voter participation (National Conference of State Legislators)
- In the last two years, nine new states have implemented or enacted the policy – California, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Utah, and Vermont