By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment to a section of the bill that requires Secretary Galvin to include early voting by mail applications with the voter information booklet that gets sent to every Bay State household in the fall. The amendment guarantees that the cover or exterior envelope of the voter booklet will clearly state that voting by mail applications are included inside, and that the booklets and applications will be mailed to households by October 5. It also requires that any vote by a select board or city or town council to relocate regular polling places be both public and recorded and directs the secretary of state to conduct a public awareness campaign to promote the new voting options included in the bill.

“I’m proud that the Senate unanimously adopted my amendment … in a bipartisan show of support for equity and education when it comes to ballot access and vote by mail,” said Sen. Becca Rausch (D-Needham). “This amendment … enhances voter education and outreach promotes government transparency.

“We know that historically, Black and Latinx voters rely on in-person polling places, and that changes to those locations, especially at the last minute, have a disproportionate impact on voters of color,” continued Rausch. “Thanks to my amendment, if city and town officials vote to relocate regular polling places, the votes must be both public and recorded. This is a crucial change for government transparency—if our local elected officials are going to make these changes just weeks before an election, it’s critical that they stand up and own their votes.”

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