UPDATE: Emergency funding, provisions for upcoming MA Elections
For Immediate Release: March 24, 2020
Contact: Pam Wilmot, Common Cause Massachsuetts
(617) 962 0034 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed SB 2608, a bill allowing municipalities to postpone their spring elections due to the COVID-19 crisis. The bill, which has now been signed by Governor Baker, also expands absentee and early voting by mail, and makes other reforms for the spring elections.
Today, Congress continues to debate additional funding for states to expand their vote by mail programs before the fall elections. The Senate version of the bill includes $140 million in elections assistance funding; the House version would provide $4 billion, with at least half of the amount going to local governments responsible for administering elections.
Statement of Common Cause Massachusetts Director Pam Wilmot
Voters across the Commonwealth are grateful that the Legislature and the Governor have dealt with the immediate crisis, by enabling cities and towns to postpone their spring elections. The new law also makes it easier for voters to participate in the rescheduled elections, by absentee or early voting by mail. We all have obligations to democracy, even in the middle of a public health crisis, and this emergency change will make it easier for voters to have our voices heard.
But this is just a first step. We don’t have any way of knowing when this crisis will be over – and other elections are scheduled for this fall. Congress is deciding how much emergency funding to provide states to improve our elections infrastructure and allow near-universal Vote By Mail. We look forward to working with the General Court again, in the near future, to make changes necessary for all Massachusetts voters to participate safely in the fall elections.