Joint Election Committee considers VOTES Act

After the pandemic changed the election process, a joint committee on elections held a public hearing May 19 on making some of those changes permanent. Mail-in ballots, safety protocols and new voting timelines proved successful in ensuring safety and increasing voter turnout, while ideas like same-day voter registration and voting rights for the incarcerated are gaining new traction.

The Massachusetts Legislature considered several acts during a hearing last week, but the VOTES Act took up most of the conversation because it encompasses widespread election reform. Focused on election modernization, H.805 and S.459 is referred to as a superbill by advocates.

The bill calls for:

Expanded vote-by-mail

Early in-person voting

Same day voter registration (on any voting day, including Election Day)

Jail-based voting reforms

Risk-limiting audits, a practice used to help confirm election results

Fixing Massachusetts automatic voter registration laws

Implementation of the Electronic

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