Amendment #23 to H4768

Safeguarding equity and access when making changes to polling places

Mr. González of Springfield move to amend the bill by striking out Section 11 and inserting in place thereof the following:-

 

SECTION 11. Notwithstanding section 24 of chapter 54 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the select board, board of selectmen, town council or city council may vote to change any polling place to be used at the primary election or the general election at least 20[A1]  days prior to the date of the primary election or general election. If the select board, board of selectmen, or town council [A2] determine that the public convenience would be better served, they may house all polling places in a single building within the municipality, if such building is suitably equipped. In cities, the city council may designate polling places in non-adjacent precincts if they determine the public convenience would be better served. The select board, board of selectmen, town council, or city council shall find that the public convenience would be better served by a change in a polling place only if: (1)[A3]  election officials made substantial efforts to recruit poll workers to adequately staff all polling places and were unable to do so, or the change is necessary to enable voters or poll workers to engage in physical distancing as required to protect public health; and (2)[A4]  doing so would not have a disparate adverse impact on access to the polls on the basis of race, national origin, disability, income, or age. When the polling places have been designated pursuant to this section, the board of registrars shall post on the municipal website and at other such places as it may determine, a description of the polling places and shall notify voters by using an electronic means, to the extent available, such as via email or reverse 911 call.

 

[A1]10 days does not allow enough time to notify voters of the change. The existing statute requires 20 days.

[A2]Housing all polling places in one building may be reasonable in some towns, but never in larger municipalities.

[A3]It might be necessary to change polling places for these anticipated reasons, but changes should not be allowed for any reason or no articulated reason at all.

[A4]Protecting equitable access to the polls, even if polling places need to change.

 


Additional co-sponsor(s) added to Amendment #23, as changed to H4768

Safeguarding equity and access when making changes to polling places

Representative:

Tami L. Gouveia

Lindsay N. Sabadosa

Tommy Vitolo

John H. Rogers

Jack Patrick Lewis

Aaron Vega

Kenneth I. Gordon

Carmine Lawrence Gentile

Christine P. Barber

Daniel J. Ryan

Alice Hanlon Peisch

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

Kate Lipper-Garabedian

Andres X. Vargas

Alan Silvia

David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

Jonathan Hecht

Denise Provost

Mindy Domb

Nika C. Elugardo

Maria Duaime Robinson

Natalie M. Higgins

Brian M. Ashe

David M. Rogers

Michelle L. Ciccolo

Tram T. Nguyen

Jay D. Livingstone

Mike Connolly

Natalie M. Blais

Christopher Hendricks

Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Stephan Hay

Marcos A. Devers