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Massachusetts' highest court rejects challenge to early, mail-in voting law

Lynnfield attorney Michael Walsh (bottom left) argues MassGOP Chairman James Lyons' case before the Supreme Judicial Court on July 6, 2022.
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State House News Service
Lynnfield attorney Michael Walsh (bottom left) argues MassGOP Chairman James Lyons' case before the Supreme Judicial Court on July 6, 2022.

The Supreme Judicial Court on Monday rejected the challenge to the new law making early voting and vote-by-mail permanent features of Massachusetts elections and has cleared Secretary of State William Galvin to begin sending ballot applications to voters this month.

The SJC heard arguments last week related to the lawsuit that Republican Party Chairman James Lyons and Republican candidates filed seeking to overturn the so-called VOTES Act, which made voting-by-mail permanent in Massachusetts.

The plaintiffs argued that the VOTES Act, which codified pandemic-era policies that proved popular with voters, violates the allowances for absentee voting contained in Article 105 of the state Constitution. They wanted the court to block Galvin from sending mail-in ballot applications to the more than 4.7 million voters in Massachusetts.

In its order, the court ruled that "judgment shall enter in the county court for the Secretary on all claims in the plaintiffs' complaint" and that "the plaintiffs' request to enjoin the Secretary from putting the VOTES act into effect is denied."

The SJC said it wanted to issue the order quickly because the deadline for Galvin to mail the applications is July 23, but that a complete opinion detailing the court's thinking would follow.

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