For Immediate Release - May 22, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS LEGISLATION TO UPDATE VOTING LAWS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Election Law Reform Bill Signing

Governor Patrick signs H. 3788, “An Act Relative to Election Laws” in Nurses Hall at the State House. (Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office)

BOSTON – Thursday, May 22, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed H. 3788, “An Act Relative to Election Laws,”  updating voting procedures in Massachusetts to allow early voting and several other new provisions.

"This legislation makes our democracy stronger,” said Governor Patrick. “With this new law we are making it easier and more efficient to register and vote, ensuring more people have an opportunity to participate in the election process.”

Under the legislation, any qualified voter may vote up to 11 days before a general election at a designated early voting site. Early voting will apply to all November state elections excluding primaries beginning in 2016 and will also permit early voting by mail, as another means to facilitate the voting process for the Massachusetts voting population and encourage greater participation in elections.

The bill also allows for online voting registration via the completion of a digital affidavit of registration and will establish a website to update citizens on the status of their registration. Additionally, the legislation permits the pre-registration of 16-year-old residents if they meet all requirements for voter registration except the minimum age. They will be designated in annual voter registers as “pre-registrants” until they reach the voting age, whereupon the designation will be removed.

Provisions for automatic audits in presidential elections are also included in the bill to help ensure the accuracy of voting machines.

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