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Debates heat up over changing voting rules in Mass.

Voters in Ludlow on election day 2020
Jill Kaufman
Voters in Ludlow on election day 2020

Some temporary measures designed to make voting easier in Massachusetts remain in place due to COVID-19 for municipal elections around the state in November of last year. Some Democrats are moving to make provisions such as early voting permanent. At the same time, some Republican lawmakers want to create new rules, including a voter identification requirement.

Early voting and mail-in voting are credited with a historic high level of voter turnout in Massachusetts in 2020, when nearly 3.7 million residents voted. That beat the previous record by 300-thousand votes.

Most of those provisions are included in a Democratic favored voting reform bill, known as the Freedom to Vote Act.

“It begins to bust out some of the areas like mail in voting that voters have long wanted, and now we begin to see them enshrined in law,” said State Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton).

Voter identification requirements favored by Republicans that have been proposed in many other states are under consideration in Massachusetts too. Several pending bills would require voter identification. The state Republican Party also is trying to put the issue on the 2022 state ballot.

“If the voters of Massachusetts want a voter ID law, they should have voter I.D. laws,” State Rep. Lenny Mirror (R-Georgetown) told And Another Thing, “This is something I've heard from a lot of constituents about, and the vast majority of the ones that I've heard from definitely want these laws in place. And in fact, just about every poll I've seen shows that voter ID laws have support.”


This episode of And Another Thing was originally broadcast on October 28, 2021.

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