Since the onset of COVID-19, I led the charge to give Massachusetts voters the most comprehensive vote-by-mail system possible by crafting, filing, and successfully advocating for my 2020 Vote by Mail Act. Now I am more committed than ever to advancing just and equitable access to the ballot box.
An Act Modernizing Access and Improving Laws in Voting (the MAIL-in Voting Act) gives Massachusetts voters what they so clearly want and deserve – expanded and enhanced access to mail voting to promote full participation in the democratic process.
In the 2020 general election, 40% of voters cast ballots by mail, resulting in the highest voter turnout percentage in Massachusetts since the 1996 general election.
COMPONENTS OF THE MAIL-in VOTING ACT
This bill expands ballot box access for Massachusetts voters through the following key provisions:
Permanently establishes and improves vote-by-mail access in Massachusetts.
Creates a permanent opt-in mail voter status option for voters. Permanent mail voters will automatically receive ballots by mail for every eligible election without submitting ballot requests.
Automatically enrolls as permanent mail voters any voter who requested and returned a mail-in ballot in both the 2020 state primary and election. Voters can opt out of permanent mail voter status at any time.
Sets a mandatory ballot drop box to voter ratio, requiring one drop box for every 25,000 voters in a municipality. Allows voters to return mail ballots to their regular polling places on Election Day.
Moves the Massachusetts primary date from September to the second Tuesday in June.
Requires municipalities to provide a polling place within walking distance of any college or university.
Provides two hours of paid leave for any eligible employee to vote in either the early
voting or mail voting period, or on Election Day.