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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

Last year, the Massachusetts Legislature passed the historic VOTES Act, which substantially improved voter access. This year, the Legislature missed an important opportunity to build on that progress by passing legislation to enact same-day voter registration. However, the Legislature did manage to secure necessary funding for local election offices to implement the early voting reforms passed last year. With everything taken into consideration, Massachusetts received a B+ on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Massachusetts Started at the Beginning of 2023

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

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Massachusetts as of 2022, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 12th
  • EPI Score (2020): 10th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 8/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

  • The Massachusetts Legislature provided critically important funding to implement early voting changes. The supplemental budget bill appropriated additional funding to the Secretary of the Commonwealth to administer grants “to cities and towns for additional costs to administer early voting in person and by mail.”
  • Legislators were, once again, unable to come together to pass legislation to implement same-day voter registration in Massachusetts.

Implementation Action

  • Last January, Massachusetts launched Secure AVR at motor vehicle offices, ensuring that more people are registered to vote and updated as part of a license transaction, while also improving the security and efficiency of the process. Additionally, Massachusetts’ past work to expand AVR to Medicaid paid dividends with recent data showing their success. MassHealth’s implementation of Partial Automatic Voter Registration showed a five-fold increase in voter registrations in the recent release of data in the Election Administration and Voting Survey.