Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Automatic Voter Registration into Law

Massachusetts today became the 14th US State to adopt Automatic Voter Registration, following Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature on the bill.  Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) makes it much more convenient for all state residents to participate in elections.

For some Americans, the voter registration process can be confusing and complicated.   Automatic Voter Registration makes the process much more convenient and secure.

Now, when Massachusetts residents do business with certain government agencies, such as obtaining a driver’s license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, they will automatically be registered to vote, as long as they meet other voting criteria and don’t opt-out.  AVR also has a provision to consolidate the places Massachusetts stores records, saving the state money and making voter registration systems more secure.

“We think it is one of the strongest automatic voter registration bills in the country,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, who urged lawmakers to vote for the bill.

“Common Cause applauds members of the Massachusetts Legislature and Gov. Baker in making it much more convenient for eligible citizens to register and vote.  The passage of the AVR bill is a huge victory for democracy in Massachusetts,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn.

In the Massachusetts House and Senate, the AVR bill was the subject of at least 28 separate votes, not including amendments.  Common Cause’s Massachusetts team worked hard to get it passed.

Does AVR make a positive difference?   Other states’ results show it does.

In Oregon, the first state to pass AVR, 375,000 new voters registered to vote during the first 18 months of the program.

In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles processed nearly 800,000 voter registrations during the first three months of its AVR Motor Voter program.  These transactions included 393,020 people re-registering to vote, 259,294 new voters registering and 120,016 updating their addresses.

Massachusetts has now lowered barriers for eligible residents to vote, and strengthened our democracy.