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ADVISORY: Public Hearing on Legislation to Improve Massachusetts’ Elections
Joint Committee on Election Laws to Hear Testimony
on VOTES Act H.805/S.459 on May 19 at 1pm
A major piece of voting reform legislation comes before the Joint Committee on Election Laws at their hearing on Wednesday, May 19 at 1pm. The hearing will include public input on An Act Fostering Voting Opportunities, Trust, Equity and Security or, the VOTES Act (H 805 and S 459) which is supported by over 100 local and state organizations. Bill sponsors, advocates, and election-law experts will testify in support of this landmark legislation, which will make our democracy more accessible and equitable through establishment of mail-in voting, early voting, same-day registration, and more. See our bill summary for details.
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (First Middlesex and Norfolk)
Representative John J. Lawn, Jr. (10th Middlesex)
Peg Perl, Director of Elections Arapahoe County, Colorado
John Lindback, Former Executive Director of ERIC States and Oregon’s Elections Division
John Marion, Executive Director, Common Cause Rhode Island
David Sullivan, Former Chief Legal Counsel for the Elections Division, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth; Senior Voter Protection Lawyer, Democratic Party
Geoff Foster, Executive Director, Common Cause Massachusetts
Cheryl Crawford, Executive Director, MassVOTE
Rahsaan Hall, Director of Racial Justice Program, ACLU
Janet Domenitz, Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Sophia Hall, Supervising Attorney, Lawyers for Civil Rights
Pattye Comfort, Executive Director, League of Women Voters MA
Beth Huang, Executive Director, Massachusetts Voter Table
Gladys Vega, Executive Director, La Colaborativa
Felipe Zamborlini, Policy Director, Rosie's Place
Darrin Howell, Political Coordinator, 1199 SEIU
Emily Rodriguez, Pioneer Valley Project
WHEN: 1pm, Wednesday May 19th, 2021
WHERE: Virtual Hearing; https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3725
WHAT: Public hearing on the VOTES Act. The bill would:
- make last year’s COVID-related elections changes permanent. Those changes made possible 2020’s record-breaking voter turnout, despite the pandemic.
- enact same-day registration, which is used in 20 states and allows voters to correct or update their voter registration - or register for the first time - on the same day they cast their ballot.
- update and improve the state’s Automatic Voter Registration laws.
- provide for risk-limiting audits after all regular state primaries and elections. Risk-limiting audits are considered “the gold standard” of post-election audits.
- ensure that eligible voters can exercise the right to vote even if they are incarcerated; for example, pre-trial detainees.
- provide a time limit for constitutional challenges, and ensures that such legal challenges cannot be used to overturn election results.
- create a deadline for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to fix the online portal for mail ballot applications.
- require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) by June 30, 2022.
The bill has over 100 legislative sponsors. Organizations that have endorsed the VOTES Act include:
Action for Equity
ADL New England
American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts
Arise for Social Justice
Black Boston COVID19 Coalition
Black Economic Justice Institute
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.
Boston Ten Point Coalition
Boston Ujima Project
Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
College Bound Dorchester
Common Cause MA
City Life / Vida Urbana
City Mission, Inc.
Coalition for a Better Acre
Coalition for Social Justice
Codman Square NDC
College Bound Dorchester
Community Action Works Campaigns
Conservation Law Foundation
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Edgartown Democratic Town Committee
Environmental League of Massachusetts
Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution
Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association
Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center Inc.
Greater Boston Section-National Council of Negro Women
GSM Labor Council
Immigrants' Assistance Center, Inc. (IAC)
Indivisible Martha's Vineyard
Indivisible Massachusetts Coalition
Indivisible Outer Cape
Jetpac Resource Center
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
La Comunidad, Inc.
Lawyers for Civil Rights
Lift Every Vote
League of Women Voters MA
Madison Park Development Corporation
MAPS-Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants
Mass. Assoc. of Community Development Corporations
Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement
Massachusetts Communities Action Network
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Massachusetts Peace Action
Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition
Massachusetts Voter Table
More Than Words
Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts
Next Leadership Development Corporation
Planned Parenthood MA
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts
Progressives for Democracy in America
Providers’ Council- CareVote
Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts
Quincy Geneva New Vision CDC
Racial Justice Rising
Reclaim Our Democracy
Shana Bryant Consulting Services
Small Planet Institute
The Good Governance Project - BC Law
The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
The Real Cost of Prisons Project
The Women's Pipeline for Change
Transformative Culture Project
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action
VOTE New Bedford
Voter Choice Massachusetts
Yes - Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance
Young Demcorats of Massachusetts
YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
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