Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and it is of the highest importance that we ensure our electoral process is accessible for all eligible voters in the Commonwealth. As such, it is crucial that our election laws are up-to-date and reflective of the needs of every voter so they can actively participate in the political process.
In my previous role as Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws, I worked hard to modernize Massachusetts’s election laws in an effort to reflect our Commonwealth’s voting needs in the 21st century, and to make the electoral process more accessible to historically disenfranchised and underrepresented voting groups.
As Vice Chair, I took part in crafting the Election Laws Reform Act, which was a major step in improving our previously outdated voting laws. This crucial piece of legislation was signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2014, making it easier and more efficient to register, vote, and participate in the political process. This law includes early voting, online voter registration, post-election audits of voting machines, and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Pre-registration serves as an important tool in engaging and empowering our young adults to take an active role in our communities and make a positive impact on society at every level. As legislators, we should do everything in our power to support our youth and provide them with the tools to become active participants in our democratic process. I strongly believe that empowering our young adults begins with voter pre-registration.
Prior to passage of the Election Laws Reform Act, I recurrently filed pre-registration legislation aimed at closing the voter participation gap between young eligible voters and their older counterparts. It is a proven strategy to get thousands of people involved in our electoral process, and I was thrilled that it became an essential component of the comprehensive election laws bill.
The Election Laws Reform Act was referred to as the “most significant reform to strengthen the vote-counting and voter registration processes in Massachusetts in 20 years” by the Director of MassVOTE. This law helps to protect the fundamental right to vote for all people of the Commonwealth, and it is one of my proudest accomplishments as a Massachusetts State Senator. I will continue to fight in the Legislature for current election laws that strengthen our democracy and encourages political participation from all eligible voters.