Supreme Judicial Court Reaches Decision in Lyons v Secretary of State

VOTES Act to be in effect for September Primary

Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced a decision in Lyons v Secretary of Commonwealth, a lawsuit filed by the MA GOP attempting to block the recently passed VOTES Act. The decision denies the plaintiffs’ request to block the Secretary from putting the VOTES act into effect. A full opinion explaining the court’s reasoning will follow. 

“Today’s decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court means that voters will be able to rely on the provisions of  the VOTES Act in the upcoming elections. This is a big win for voting rights in Massachusetts,” said Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “We were confident all along that this attempt to block the VOTES Act was meritless. We’re excited for the VOTES Act to be fully implemented to achieve its intended result: a more accessible, equitable, and stronger democracy in Massachusetts. 

The VOTES Act makes several permanent changes to Massachusetts’ election laws, including allowing voters to vote by mail without an excuse; expanding early voting options; making sure that eligible voters who are incarcerated are able to request a mail ballot and vote; ensuring that the Commonwealth joins the 30-state Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to keep voter registration rolls up-to-date; and more. The bill also reduces the voter registration deadline prior to an election from twenty days to ten. 

Common Cause Massachusetts submitted an amicus brief to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in support of the constitutionality of the VOTES Act which can be seen in full here.