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New Massachusetts Law Leading To Repeat Voter Registrations

A voting sign.
Keith Ivey
Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/kcivey
A voting sign

The voter registration deadline for the March 3rd Massachusetts presidential primary is this Wednesday. And a new state law is causing some people to be registered more than once. 

As of the first of the year, residents doing business with certain state agencies have been automatically registered to vote. People have the opportunity to opt out, but some end up double-registering unknowingly, according to Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

"People do get registered or they change, or they don't identify quite the way they identified when they registered — different initial in their name or something, so it leads to some degree of bureaucratic follow-up that's required," Galvin said. 

It's up to local officials to catch duplicate registrations, leading to "a lot more work on the clerks," said Michelle Benjamin, the city clerk in Pittsfield. 

Kathy Scott, Greenfield's City Clerk agrees, but said, "We willingly take that on to make sure that everyone who would like to register to vote has the ability."

Galvin said the fact local officials are catching the repeats shows the system is working. He adds the new law is also having its intended result — thousands of people are registered to vote for the first time. 

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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