Skip to Content


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1139         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 314

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Cynthia S. Creem

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing election day registration.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Cynthia S. Creem

First Middlesex and Norfolk

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Kenneth J. Donnelly

Fourth Middlesex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Benjamin B. Downing

Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden

Karen E. Spilka

Second Middlesex and Norfolk

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire

Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1139        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 314

By Ms. Creem, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 314) of Cynthia S. Creem, Kenneth I. Gordon, Kay Khan, Jonathan Hecht and other members of the General Court for legislation to establish election day registration.  Election Laws. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE SENATE, NO. 301 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act establishing election day registration.
 

              Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide for election day registration for citizens of the Commonwealth and to make related changes in certain laws, therefore, it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 51 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:-  A person otherwise qualified to vote for national or state officers shall not, by reason of a change of residence within the commonwealth, be disqualified from voting for such national or state officers in the city or town from which the person has removed residence until the expiration of 6 months from such removal, provided further, that a person having changed residence shall be eligible to register under section 34A. 

              SECTION 2. Section 3 of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended, by inserting, after the word, “registration” in lines 7 and 16, the following words:- , or in accordance with the provisions of section 34A.

              SECTION 3. Section 26 of said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 9 and 10, the words “eight o’clock in the evening” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- 5:00 pm. 

              SECTION 4. Said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out section 28, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:- 

              Section 28.   Registrars shall hold a continuous session from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm on the last day for registration prescribed under section 26.  For those towns having less than 1,500 voters, such session shall be sufficient if it includes the time from 9:00 until 11:00 am and from 2:00 until 5:00 pm. 

              SECTION 5. Said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out section 34, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 34. Except as otherwise provided in section 34A, after 5:00 pm of a day on which registration is to cease, the registrars shall not register any person to vote in the next election, except that they shall furnish, or cause to be furnished, to each person waiting in line at the hour of 5:00 pm for the purpose of being registered, a card or slip of identification bearing such person’s name and shall, before registration ceases, permit such person to register. The registrars may, however, enter or correct on the registers the names of persons who have registered as voters between December 31st preceding and the close of registration.

              SECTION 6. Said chapter 51, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after section 34 the following section:-

              Section 34A.   (a) An individual who is eligible to vote may register on the day of an election by appearing in person at the polling place, during the hours it is open for voting, for the precinct in which the individual maintains residence, by completing a registration application in a form prescribed by the state secretary which complies with identity requirements of 42 U.S.C. section 15483, by presenting to the appropriate election official proof of residency and by making a written oath which shall be as follows:  I certify that I: am a citizen of the United States; am at least 18 years old; am not under guardianship or otherwise prohibited from voting; am not temporarily or permanently disqualified by law because of corrupt practices in respect to elections; have read and understand this statement:  I further understand that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

              (b)  For purposes of this section, the term “proof of residence” shall mean 1 of the following, so long as it includes the name of the applicant and the address from which the applicant is registering:

              (i) a valid photo identification including, but not limited to, a Massachusetts’ driver’s license or other state-issued identification card; or

              (ii)  other documentation demonstrating the name and address where the applicant maintains residence and seeks to register including, but not limited to, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, residential lease agreement, wireless telephone statement, paycheck, other government document or correspondence, a current student fee statement or other document from a post-secondary educational institution that verifies the student’s current address.

              (c) Upon meeting the identity requirements of subsection (a), production of proof of residence, and the making of an oath sufficient to support registration, the ballot clerk or designee of the ballot clerk shall permit the applicant to vote on the day of an election and the registrar or designee of the registrar shall place the applicant’s name and address on the annual register of voters as soon as reasonably practicable following the date of the election as prescribed by the state secretary.  Any person who registers to vote on the day of an election in accordance with this section shall, absent disqualification, be registered to vote at all subsequent primaries and elections.

              (d)  The state secretary shall make available, to the election officers, to the extent possible, at each polling place, access to the central registry of voters set forth in section 47C.  For the purposes of this section, a printed copy of all voters registered to vote in that precinct as of the last day of the registration period, as required by sections 55 and 60, shall be sufficient.

              (e) This section shall not apply to an individual seeking to register to vote in any town for the purposes of voting at annual town meeting or special town meeting.  

              (f) A registered voter shall not re-register on the day of an election for the exclusive purpose of altering the party affiliation of that voter.

              (g) The state secretary shall adopt regulations to implement the relevant provisions of this chapter.

              (h) Upon credible information or allegation of illegal voter registration, or credible information or allegation of illegal multiple voting, there shall be an investigation upon the merits of said information or allegation by the attorney general, or by the district attorney having jurisdiction over the municipality in which the alleged illegal registration or illegal multiple voting occurred.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as excluding enforcement of this section by any means otherwise provided by law.

              (i) Violations of this section shall be punishable under sections 8, 26 and 27, of chapter 56.

              SECTION 7. There shall be an advisory committee on the implementation of election day registration.  Among other issues it may consider, the advisory committee shall study the resources necessary for, costs associated with, and feasibility of providing every polling location with real-time electronic access to the central registry of voters.  The advisory committee shall be comprised of the secretary of state, or a designee, who shall chair the advisory committee, the attorney general, or a designee, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on election laws, or their designees, 2 representatives of the Massachusetts Town Clerks Association, at least 1 of whom shall be a town clerk from a town of under 5,000 residents, and 2 representatives of the Massachusetts City Clerks Association.  The advisory committee shall complete its study on the implementation of election day registration and submit an interim report and  recommendations for improving administration of election day registration, in writing, to the joint committee on election laws and the senate and house committees on ways and means on or before June 30, 2013, and the advisory committee shall submit its final report in writing to the joint committee on election laws and the senate and house committees on ways and means on or before December 31, 2013.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Error