House and Senate Pass Bill Expanding Voting Options

Massachusetts State House.

HYANNIS – The Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate have reached an agreement on legislation that will provide Massachusetts voters with options for expanded early, absentee and mail-in voting for state and local elections for 2020.

The bill will require the secretary of state to mail applications to all registered voters by July 15 so that they can request a mail-in ballot for the September 1 primary election via a prepaid return envelope.

A second mailing will be sent out by September 14 for voters to request a mail-in ballot for the November 3 general election, as well.

Applications and ballots will be made available in any language required by the federal Voting Rights Act.

The bill also requires the Secretary of State to develop an online portal for voters to request a mailed ballot, operational by October 1 at the latest for the general election.

The bill will also allow polling locations to be changed by cities and towns for reasons of public health or public convenience, so long that the vote to change the location takes place at least 20 days prior to the election.

Cities will also be required to provide early voting hours, including weekend hours, for those casting ballots in-person for the primary election from August 22 to 28, and the general election from October 17 to 30.

Completed early voting ballots can be mailed, delivered in person to the local town clerk’s office, or placed in a municipal drop-box, if available.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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