SENATE APPROVES TO ALLOW EARLY VOTING FOR STATE PRIMARY ELECTIONS

By Bob Katzen

Senate 35-3, approved an amendment allowing early voting for five days before the Sept. 4 primary election between Aug. 27 through Aug. 31. Early voting was first used in the Nov. 2016 election but current state law only allows early voting for the November General Elections, not the primaries.

Amendment supporters said early voting increases voter participation. They noted that more than 1 million ballots were cast across the state during the early voting period before the Nov. 2016 election.

Amendment opponents said the bill is an unfunded state mandate. “This amendment is a change in the early voting law with no funding attached,” said Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), one of only three senators who opposed the amendment. “The city clerks in my district were in communication with me months ago with concerns about expanding early voting to primary elections without any funding for implementation.”

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