In July, Massachusetts’ top court determined that the state requirement that voters register 20 days before an election did not violate the state constitution. This ruling overturned a lower court that had ruled that the voter registration deadline created an unconstitutional burden on eligible voters. In response to the court decision, both the Democratic Attorney General and Secretary of the Commonwealth have pushed lawmakers to enact same day registration. Massachusetts Democrats introduced bills to implement same day voter registration (H 685H 715), but the measures did not pass. Same day voter registration has been shown to improve voter turnout and Massachusetts lawmakers should work to bring the measure to the state.

Massachusetts Democrats introduced other bills to making enhance voting rights: extending early voting in the state (H 684H 682S 387S 390), restoring voting rights to individuals who are incarcerated (S 405), giving voters time off on election day to vote (S 384) improving citizen knowledge of voting rights (S 395), and allowing 16 year olds to vote in local elections (H 662). None of these pro-democracy measures passed.

At the same time, Massachusetts Republicans introduced legislation that would suppress voting rights by requiring a specific ID to vote (H 705). Massachusetts Republicans learned from the GOP in other states that voter ID laws are a useful way to suppress the vote. Luckily for Massachusetts voters, the bill failed.