State Representative Eugene O’Flaherty sponsored a bill last week will establish early voting for presidential elections and provides resources to local officials and residents to make the voting process more efficient.
O’Flaherty and his colleagues in the House unanimously passed the bill.
Under the bill pushed by O’Flaherty early voting for presidential elections will begin in 2016. It is expected to significantly decrease wait times on Election Day and allow more individuals to vote. The bill also creates a secure online portal through which individuals can register and view their registration status.
“No one likes long lines while voting and perhaps this bill won’t end that but it will diminish it and will also move us in the right direction when eradicating hardships associated with voting” said O’Flaherty.
Early voting will take place ten business days prior to presidential elections in accordance with regular business hours of the municipal office. Following the 2016 election, a task force will issue a report including information on costs, administrative requirements, voter turnout and the lines at polling places.
The online portal allows new applicants to register and existing voters to change their address, look up their polling place and confirm they are registered. The system will streamline the voter registration process and is expected to cut costs.
“This bill improves voting efficiency and helps give citizens across the Commonwealth a voice,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Massachusetts has a rich history of civic involvement and I believe this legislation bring us one step closer to ensuring all individuals can participate in the voting process. No one should be denied a vote because of a hardship or responsibility.”