Introduction to Civic Engagement

A few weeks ago, State Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Jay Kaufman filed the Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act, a new piece of election reform legislation. This sweeping bill brings together many reforms to modernize our voting system, protect people's right to vote, and help cities and towns save money. It creates the perfect starting ground for a discussion to find improvements in our voting process that will work for everyone.

Some of the highlights:
Pre-Registration: Let 16 and 17 year-olds register ahead of time, and then have those registrations become automatically active when they become 18. Encourage all schools and training programs to register all juniors and seniors at the beginning of the year.
Early Voting: Gives voters a one week period of one week during which they can vote ahead of time if they wish.
Election Day Registration: Let citizens register and vote on the same day, provided they are able to provide proof of residence and identification and are willing to sign an oath of eligibility.
Electronic Absentee Requests for Military and Overseas Voters: Let our troops use email to request and receive absentee ballots to ensure their votes are received in time for Election Day.
Paper ballots and regular audits: Already common practice in our state,the bill would mandate these important election integrity protections.
Require Closed Captioning of Broadcast Campaign Commercials for the hearing impaired.
Prohibit deceptive election practices: Increase fines for illegal challenges of voters. This would make it a crime to try and prevent, delay, dissuade, or interfere with a person's right to vote by distributing false information about voting and elections or other deceptive practices.
We want to thank Senator Eldridge and Representative Kaufman, and the bills' wonderful co-sponsors:
Rep. Pam Richardson
Rep. Carl Sciortino
Rep. Steve D'Amico
Rep. Ellen Story
Rep. Denise Provost
Rep. Kay Kahn
Rep. Tom Sannicandro
Rep. Sean Garbally
Rep. Thomas Conroy
Rep. Katherine Clark
Sen. Stephen Brewer
Sen. Susan Fargo
Sen. Susan Tucker
Sen. Anthony Gallucio

To find out more, check out, or come to our Election Day Registration Lobby Day at the State House, April 29th.