The VOTES Act Summary



  1. Codify 2020 reforms, including:
    1. No-excuse mail voting in all elections (in place of absentee voting) [Sections 13, 26, 27, passim]
    2. Early voting in person (EVIP): for at least 2 weeks before regular state elections, 1 week before state primaries and special elections (including weekends, but skipping last weekend for both); at local option for municipal elections; local officials can provide more hours and more sites; also for voters absent on election day, in clerk’s office for all elections, until noon of day before election [Section 8]
    3. Secretary will mail applications to all registered voters by July 15 of even-numbered years; clerks will mail applications to new registrants after that [Section 14: 89(e)]
    4. Voters can apply for mail ballots to be sent permanently until they cancel [Section 14: 89(a)]
    5. Portal to apply for mail ballots for all state primaries and elections, must electronically update state database and notify clerks [Section 14: 89(j)]
    6. Drop boxes at local option, and voters can return mail ballots to EVIP site, including by family members [Section 17]
    7. Pre-paid postage for applications and ballots [Section 14: 89(g); Section 16]
    8. Local option for advance processing of mail and EVIP ballots [Section 20]
    9. Mail ballots will be accepted for a regular state general election if mailed by election day and received by 5 pm three days later; a postmark is evidence of the time of mailing [Sections 18, 23]
    10. Codify Secretary’s advice that voter whose mail ballot was not yet received may vote in person at early voting or on election day. Count mail ballots if voter died after voting. [Section 24]
    11. Language and disability provisions from 2020 law [Section 14: 89(g), (i)]
    12. Local officials may appoint poll workers without regard to political party membership, voter status, residence in the city or town or inclusion on a list filed by a political party committee, if the city or town clerk determines in writing there is a lack of poll workers [Section 7]
    13. Local election officials can opt not to require a check-out table at the ballot box [Sections 11, 12]
    14. Voter registration deadline 10 days before all elections [Sections 1, 3]
  1. Same-day registration for all elections [Sections 4, 29]


  1. At correctional facilities, jails and houses of corrections before every regular state primary and election, officials must provide voting information (by Secretary), distribute and then collect election materials, appoint someone to be in charge of that, and publicly report to Secretary on their activities [Section 14: 89A]


  1. Clarify that citizens may opt out of automatic voter registration only by notice to their local registrars [Sections 5, 6, 30]


  1. Risk-limiting audits after all regular state primaries and elections [Section 25]


  1. Any state constitutional challenge to mail voting under this act must be brought within 180 days in the Supreme Judicial Court, and cannot affect an election in which anyone has already cast a ballot [Section 28]


  1. Secretary must join ERIC and fix mail application portal (see 1e above) by June 30, 2022 [Section 29]

See More: Voting & Elections