BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation (H 73) Tuesday that extends voting by mail provisions through June 30.
Hundreds of cities and towns are gearing up to hold municipal elections this spring.
The law allows for early in-person voting, mail-in voting, and flexibility in scheduling municipal elections with nearly 250 cities and towns having elections planned between April 1 and June 30. The new law extends provisions that were set to expire on March 31, and gives the Legislature three months to decide on the long-term fate of the election reforms.
“I thank the governor for signing this bill, so that town clerks can move forward with planning for their local elections,” Secretary William Galvin said in a statement announcing the bill’s signing. “It is my hope that the Legislature will act as soon as possible on my proposal to make voting by mail an option for all future elections, so that voters, election officials, and campaigns can prepare accordingly for this fall’s city elections.”
The Senate passed its version of the bill last week after local and state election officials urged state officials to take action to allow for enough time to notify residents of their voting options and mail out early ballots.
MassVOTE’s Policy and Communications Manager Alex Psilakis said the organization is “thrilled” with the new law.
“The state has taken a critical, urgent step to ensure that all voters have their voices heard. But it can and must do more,” he said in a statement to the News Service. “Instead of passing temporary extension after temporary extension, the state should pass the VOTES Act, which will make many of last year’s reforms, like vote by mail and expanded early voting, permanent. It will also implement new reforms like same day voter registration. Voters embraced reform last year, and we know that they will moving forward.”
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