By Bob Katzen
The House 131-20, approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would automatically register to vote a person who fills out an application with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) or MassHealth, unless the person opts out. Officials at the RMV and MassHealth would be required to explain to each person that the transaction automatically registers them to vote, unless they opt out; and also inform them that non-citizens are ineligible to vote.
Supporters said an estimated 680,000 eligible voters in the Bay State who are not registered to vote.
“Automatic Voter Registration will make voting more accurate, more secure and more available to all”, said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts which was part of the coalition pushing for the bill. “It’s a win for democracy, it’s a win for security, and it’s a win for voters. Utilizing existing technology to modernize the voter registration process just is basic common sense.”
“We need to preserve the integrity of our elections,” said Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). “This new law is riddled with major problems from creating another unfunded mandate on cities and towns to giving felons with stolen identities the right to vote.”