By Bob Katzen
The House 134-16, Senate 36-0, approved and sent to Gov. Baker 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. “That’s good for democracy, for election security, and for voters. Utilizing existing technology to modernize the voter registration process just is basic common sense.”
“The FBI just arrested dozens of illegal immigrants who easily obtained Mass driver’s licenses with stolen identities,” said Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton). “Under this law, those felons would be automatically registered to vote. Furthermore, this law creates a burdensome unfunded mandate on cities and towns.”