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Grade TL;DR

Over the past two years, Massachusetts introduced a number of key pro-voter bills, two of which became law. The omnibus VOTES Act included key provisions to help make voting more secure and accessible for eligible voters in the state. However, the Legislature also failed to pass important reforms such as same day registration. While Massachusetts saw significant progress in 2021 and 2022, it also missed opportunities to create an even stronger pro-voter environment. Because of that, Massachusetts received an A- on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Massachusetts Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Back-End
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: No Document Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Massachusetts as of 2020, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 11th
  • EPI Score (2020): 10th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 8/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

The Massachusetts Legislature introduced a host of pro-voter legislation during the 2021 session. However, it was only able to implement a single change to preserve pandemic-era voting options for another year.

  • H 73 allowed any voter to vote by mail through the 2021 elections by extending COVID-related vote-by-mail laws through the end of the year.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

In 2022, the Legislature yet again, introduced dozens of pro-voter bills that failed to become law. Thankfully, during a surprising midsummer push, the Assembly passed the omnibus VOTES Act.

  • S 2924, the VOTES Act, makes no-excuse vote by mail and early voting permanent, allows ballot returns by drop box, allows incarcerated individuals to vote by mail, extends the voter registration deadline to 10 days before the election, and requires the state to join ERIC. Unfortunately, the version of the Act that passed the Assembly failed to include same-day registration. 

Implementation/Administrative Action

  • After a lengthy delay, Massachusetts finally joined ERIC, which will help improve the accuracy of its voter rolls.