SECTION 1. Section 42 of said chapter 51 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the words “section forty-two A”, in line 13, and inserting in place thereof the following words:- sections 42A and 65.
SECTION 2. Section 42G of said chapter 51 is hereby amended by striking out section 42G and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 42G. (a) Registration agencies required to provide voter registrations services by 52 U.S.C. section 20506 shall conduct voter registration in a manner that is as efficient, comprehensive, and as automated as practicable. Registration agencies shall transmit each completed affidavit of voter registration and the information required below and in section 65 of this chapter to the board of registrars or election commission of the city or town where the registrant resides as set forth below. The state secretary shall adopt regulations governing such transmission, which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions requiring electronic transmission, data security protocols, and integration with the online portals established by sections, 33A and 60.
(b) The state secretary shall enter into cooperative agreements with each registration agency. Such agreements shall provide that the state secretary shall (A) conduct appropriate training of agency staff; (B) make available voter registration forms; (C) specify material, language to be included on agency forms and computer interfaces, and equipment necessary for the collection and transmission of the information needed to carry out activities under this section; and (D) have oversight responsibility to insure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law.
(c) Voter registration agencies shall, in the regular course of business for applicants, (i) provide notice to each person that the agency application will serve as an attestation to eligibility and an application to register to vote unless the person declines to be registered either in a postcard as further specified in paragraph (e) and section 65 or at the point of service as specified in paragraph (e); (ii) provide notice to each person informing them of eligibility requirements to register to vote and advising them that non-citizens are ineligible to register and must decline; and (iii) transmit voter registration information as specified in paragraph (d). Each person who meets the qualifications to register to vote and does not decline to do so shall be registered as a voter under section 65 as of the date that the registration agency collects this information.
(d) For each applicant that has not declined to be registered to vote, voter registration agencies shall transmit electronic records containing the legal name, age, residence, citizenship information, the electronic signature, and attestation to the above of, each person who meets qualifications to register to vote as set forth by section 1, or to pre-register to vote as set forth in section 47A, as soon as practicable but within 5 calendar days after receipt of this information, to the board of registrars of the city or town in which the person resides in a manner prescribed by the secretary.
(e) Any registration agency that does not collect reliable citizenship information in the regular course of business for applicants shall, in addition to the above, provide an opportunity at the point of service for each person to decline to register to vote and an opportunity to specifically attest to their citizenship. Registration agencies that collect reliable citizenship information in the regular course of business shall transmit the data required under paragraph (d) and applicants will be provided the opportunity to decline according to the procedure established in section 65 of this chapter.
(f) The state secretary shall adopt regulations governing the collection and transmission of personal information under this subsection, which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions requiring registration agencies to (i) employ the most cost-effective forms of transmission; (ii) implement measures to secure information such as encryption in order to prevent security breaches and the unauthorized use of personal information as required under section 3 of chapter 93H; and (iii) implement measures for reporting security breaches or the unauthorized use of personal information as required under section 3 of chapter 93H . The person qualified under section 1 shall be registered as a voter under section 65 as of the date that the registration agency collects that individual’s personal information.
(g) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a source agency from establishing and enforcing additional security measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of inter-agency data transfers.
SECTION 3. Section 47C of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
The state secretary shall enter into an agreement with the Electronic Registration Information Center on behalf of the commonwealth that shall specify the terms and conditions of the commonwealth’s membership in the Center. The agreement shall include terms providing for the periodic sharing of data between the central registry and the registry of motor vehicles and the Center, including, but not limited to, voter names and addresses.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 51 is hereby further amended by adding the following section:-
Section 65. (a) The state secretary shall promulgate regulations relative to the administration of automatic voter registration which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions relative to (i) increasing the efficiency and limiting the total cost of voter registration for the commonwealth and its municipalities; (ii) ensuring that every eligible citizen of the commonwealth is registered to vote unless they do not want to be registered; (iii) increasing the completeness and accuracy of the register of voters; (iv) preventing erroneous disenfranchisement of eligible citizens; (v) promoting greater participation of eligible voters in elections; (vi) protecting ineligible voters from improperly being registered; and (vii) preventing voter registration fraud. The regulations authorized under this section shall be in addition to the regulations otherwise authorized by this chapter.
(b) (1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to change the substantive qualifications of voters established by this chapter or the constitution.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the registrars’ duties under sections 37, 38, 47B, 48 and 49 to ensure that the names of persons who are ineligible to vote do not appear on the register of voters.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the right of any person to decline to be a registered voter for any reason.
(c) (1) Upon receiving the electronic records described in section 42G, the board of registrars or election commission shall determine whether the names of persons included in the electronic records belong to persons who meet the qualifications of a voter under section 1. The registrars shall notify each qualified person whose name appears in those records of the automatic voter registration process.
(2) If the registrars determine that the person whose name appears in the electronic records does not meet the qualifications of a voter under section 1, the registrars shall notify the person of the determination at the address included in the electronic record, unless that person has already declined to register to vote.
(3) If the persons’ voter registration information was transmitted under section 42G(e), and if not otherwise receiving the same information for a qualified applicant, the registrars shall notify each person under paragraph (1) an opportunity to (i) decline being registered to vote; or (ii) adopt a political party affiliation, in which case the person must also sign an eligibility requirement acknowledgement, attestation, and signature.
(4) If a person so notified does not decline to be registered to vote within 21 calendar days after the registrar issues the notification, the registrars shall add the person’s name and address to the register of voters.
(5) The registrars shall not include in the register of voters the names of persons who indicate in a signed writing that they do not wish to be registered voters.
(6) If the information transmitted under section 42G is for a person whose name is already included in the register of voters, and if the information indicates a subsequent change to the person’s name, address or gender marker, the registrars shall ensure that the register of voters is updated accordingly.
(7) Upon adding the name of a person to the register of voters under paragraph (4), the registrars shall send written notice, which may be sent electronically, in a form approved by the state secretary, to the registrars or equivalent officers of the place where the person was last registered as a voter. Upon receiving this notice, or a similar notice from another state including information from the Electronic Registration Information Center under section 47C, the registrars shall immediately remove the person’s name from the register of voters.
(d) The state secretary shall ensure that information is provided to the registrars in as clear a manner as practicable, and automate the process to the extent practicable. The secretary may develop electronic interfaces with registration agencies under section 42 to carry out this section.
(e) The state secretary shall make an annual report to the joint committee on election laws of the general court, which the secretary shall post on a public website. The annual report shall include the following information:
(1) the number of records that have been transferred, by source;
(2) the number of voters newly added to the statewide voter registration list because of records transferred;
(3) the number of voters on the statewide voter registration list whose information was updated because of records transferred; (4) the number of records transferred that do not relate to persons affirmatively identified as eligible to vote; and
(5) the number of persons who opted out of voter registration.
Any report produced under this section shall exclude personal identifying information.
(f) The state secretary shall ensure that, upon receipt and verification of a person’s express request to opt out of voter registration, the person’s name and registration record is so designated, unless and until the voter consents to registration. Nothing in this section shall preclude a person who has previously declined voter registration from subsequently registering to vote.
(g) The state secretary shall ensure that election officials shall not provide the record of any person who has opted out of voter registration, in whole or in part, to any third party and shall establish standards and procedures to safeguard the privacy and security of the information used and obtained pursuant to this section.
(h) Any person who is not eligible to vote and who becomes registered under this provision shall not be found on that basis to have made a false claim to citizenship or to have committed an act involving moral turpitude, unless such person affirmatively asserts that he or she is a U.S. citizen. Where a person who is not eligible to vote becomes registered under this provision without affirmatively accepting registration, that person’s voter registration shall be considered to have been effected with official authorization and at no fault of the person so registered. Where an ineligible person who becomes registered under this provision casts a ballot in an election, that person shall not be held criminally liable absent a showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the person knowingly and willfully intended to commit fraud, nor to the extent practicable, shall such ballot be counted.
(i) No person may use the statewide voter registration list to attempt to determine the citizenship status of any person for any purpose other than voter registration, election administration, or the enforcement of laws against election crimes. No information relating to a person’s declination to supply information for voter registration purposes at a source may be disclosed to the public, used to discriminate against that person, or used for any purpose other than voter registration, election administration, or the enforcement of laws against election crimes.
SECTION 5. Section 8 of chapter 56 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “register”, in line 10, the following words:- ; whoever knowingly provides false information in connection with automatic voter registration under section 65 of chapter 51.
SECTION 6. The state secretary shall adopt regulations prescribing a process by which voter registration agencies that collect reliable citizenship information at the time of the passage of this act shall transmit already existing electronic records containing the legal name, age, residence, citizenship information, and the electronic signature of, each person in its existing records as of the effective date of this Act who meets qualifications to register to vote as set forth by section 1 of chapter 51, or to pre-register to vote as set forth in section 47A of chapter 51, and who has interacted with the agency in the past eighteen months, to the board of registrars of the city or town in which the person resides in accordance with Section 65.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2019.
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