Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud. This legislation, which Sen. DiDomenico was a co-sponsor of, creates a framework in which eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the Registry of Motor vehicles, MassHealth, and other participating state agencies. The framework will be overseen and implemented by the Secretary of State.
“Now more than ever, it is critical that we engage all eligible citizens in the political process and remove barriers to participation in our elections,” said Sen. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This legislation will not only help to ensure the integrity of our elections, but also help to expand voting opportunities by making the process more fair and accessible for all. I am very proud that automatic voter registration will be one of the next steps that Massachusetts takes in an effort to increase voter turnout, and I am looking forward to seeing this bill signed into law.”
“It should be the state’s burden to register voters – not yours,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “Long work hours and confusion about the registration process are barriers for many citizens. Thousands of Massachusetts citizens are eligible to vote today, but aren’t registered. Registering to vote must be as simple as possible, and this legislation implements a process where any eligible citizen receiving certain state services is automatically registered. Today is a major victory for voting rights and social justice.”
The legislation also bolsters voter-data security. It updates the requirements for transmission of voter registration affidavits and requires the Secretary of State to promulgate regulations to ensure registration is done through electronic transmission, with data security protocols and integration with the online portals.
“This bill seeks to advance our common goal of increasing voter registration, but it must also protect the integrity of the electoral process, said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Importantly, it does so by increasing the sharing of information and cross-referencing that information to combat voter fraud.”
The legislation also increases penalties associated with voter fraud. It orders that whoever knowingly provides false information in connection with automatic voter registration shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years or both.