By Bob Katzen
The Election Laws Committee shipped several bills off to a study committee. Most measures that are sent to a study committee are never actually studied and are essentially defeated. Here are some of the bills that were sent to a study committee and will likely be refiled by their sponsors in 2019:
MUST SHOW ID TO VOTE (H 372) – Requires all voters to show identification at their polling places in order to be allowed to vote. Acceptable forms of ID would include any current state or federal government-issued photo ID including a Massachusetts state driver’s license or photo identification card and a United States passport. The measure also provides a free or reduced cost photo ID card to indigent voters who cannot afford to pay for one.
IMPROVE ACCESS TO POLLING LOCATIONS (H 352) – Creates a Polling Location Accessibility Fund, to promote improved involvement in the electoral process by physically-challenged and elderly individuals. The program would help cities and towns pay all or part of any costs to improve the physical condition of polling locations that may have obstacles to access for elderly and physically-challenged voters.
REPEAL EARLY VOTING LAW (H 362) – Repeals the Early Voting Law that allows voters to cast their ballots before Election Day. The system was first used in the November 8, 2016 election. Early voting begins 10 business days before an election and ends two days before it.
FALSE ADS (H 365) – Provides that any candidate or Political Action Committee that lies in a political ad forfeit all their campaign funds to the Massachusetts Treasury.
NONE OF THE ABOVE (H 2106) – Requires each ballot in Massachusetts elections to include an option to vote for “None of the Above.”
NO SCHOOL ON ELECTION DAY (S 327) – Prohibits public schools from scheduling classes on any statewide Election Day. The measure would designate Election Day as a professional development day to train principals, teachers and other professional staff in various skills.