Voting Advocacy Groups Push To Permanently Extend Early Voting, Vote-By-Mail

HYANNIS – Voting Rights advocates across the state are pushing to permanently extend early voting and voting by mail in an effort to increase voter attendance.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the state introduced vote-by-mail and expanded early voting ahead of the 2020 State Primary and General Election, leading to the highest voter turnout in decades.

However, those changes expired soon after the elections took place.

MassVOTE is one of the groups seeking to make it permanent through the VOTES act.

“It would make voting by mail and expanded early in-person voting permanent in Massachusetts,” said Alex Psilakis, communications consultant for MassVOTE. “We’ve been also pushing for Election Day registration.”

The act would also ensure that those incarcerated for pretrial detention or non-felony convictions are given the right to vote by providing absentee ballot resources in prisons.

Although state law allows voting by such populations, MassVOTE believes such opportunities are not always given in practice.

MassVOTE is also among canvassers showing support for the Fair Share amendment, legislation which think-tank MassBudget reports would raise about two billion dollars each year by increasing taxes on households with annual incomes of one million dollars.

“The goals of the Fair Share amendment are increasing funding around issues like education and transportation,” said Psilakis. “And in our traditionally underrepresented communities, education and transportation lack the necessary funding to function at a really effective level.”

A decision on extending early voting and vote-by-mail is expected to be announced in the near future.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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