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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 42G1/2: Automatic voter registration agencies; data sharing

[Text of section added by 2018, 205, Sec. 4 effective January 1, 2020. See 2018, 205, Sec. 11.]

Section 42G1/2. (a)(1) For purposes of this section and section 42G, the term ''automatic voter registration agency'' shall mean a location at a state agency where an eligible citizen may register to vote.

(2) The state secretary shall determine that an agency collects ''reliable citizenship information'' if the agency, in the regular course of business for serving applicants: (i) requests, in a clear, understandable and consistently stated manner, that customers affirm their citizenship status; and (ii) collects a signed affirmation of citizenship status or documentary proof of citizenship status such that records of citizens are segregable from non-citizens.

(b)(1) The state secretary shall enter into memoranda of understanding with the registry of motor vehicles, the division of medical assistance and the commonwealth health insurance connector authority who shall serve as automatic voter registration agencies; provided, however, that the terms of such memoranda shall include, without limitation, the timeline for the establishment or enhancement of interfaces and the schedule for data to be shared between the secretary's office and the automatic voter registration agencies; and provided further, that only information obtained by the registry of motor vehicles from driver's license transactions and identification card transactions shall be used for automatic voter registration purposes. The state secretary may enter into memoranda of understanding with state agencies that collect reliable citizenship information for all applicants if the state secretary determines that enabling the agency to serve as an automatic voter registration agency will materially increase voter registration or the accuracy of the register of voters. Any such memorandum of understanding between the state secretary and an automatic voter registration agency shall provide that the state secretary shall conduct appropriate training of agency staff, shall provide all forms, material and equipment necessary to carry out voter registration activities and shall have oversight responsibility to ensure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law; provided further, that any such memorandum of understanding shall specify that all trainings, forms and materials shall be funded by the state secretary. Registration agencies not designated as automatic voter registration agencies shall continue to provide voter registration services as required by section 42G.

(2) For each automatic voter registration agency, the state secretary shall: (i) conduct appropriate training of agency staff; (ii) make available voter registration forms; (iii) specify all material, language, forms and electronic interfaces necessary for the collection and transmission of the information needed to carry out activities under this section; (iv) eliminate to the extent practicable duplicative entries into the central voter registry; and (v) have oversight responsibility to ensure proper compliance with applicable provisions of federal and state law.

(c) An agency that has entered into a memorandum of understanding to become an automatic voter registration agency shall: (i) conduct automatic voter registration, as specified by subsections (d) to (g), inclusive; (ii) work with the state secretary to implement this chapter and meet the goals of automatic voter registration enumerated in section 65; and (iii) provide notice to each applicant: (A) explaining that the agency application shall serve as an attestation to eligibility and an application to register to vote unless the person declines to register to vote; (B) informing the applicant of the eligibility requirements to register to vote; and (C) advising the applicant that non-citizens are ineligible to register, and that the applicant must decline to register unless the applicant is a United States citizen and is otherwise eligible to register to vote.

(d) In accordance with the memorandum of understanding required by subsection (b), each eligible applicant for services at an automatic voter registration agency who meets the qualifications to register to vote and does not decline to register to vote shall be registered as a voter under section 65 as of the date the registrar adds the person's name and address to the register of voters, pursuant to clause (4) of subsection (d) of said section 65; provided, however, that an applicant who meets the qualifications to register to vote, does not decline to register to vote and completes a qualifying transaction with an automatic voter registration agency not less than 21 days prior to an election shall be entitled to vote in that election.

(e) For each applicant, an automatic voter registration agency shall transmit electronic records containing information on the applicant's legal name, age, residence, citizenship and the applicant's electronic signature to the state secretary who shall transmit the same to the board of registrars or election commission of the city or town in which the person resides, in a manner prescribed by the state secretary. An automatic voter registration agency may consult with the registry of motor vehicles or other agencies to augment data to be transmitted in a manner prescribed by the state secretary. An automatic voter registration agency shall not transmit a record that contains: (i) a home address designated as confidential pursuant to section 8 of chapter 9A; or (ii) a record that does not clearly and consistently contain both the applicant's electronic signature and sworn or verified information for the applicant's: (A) legal name; (B) age; (C) residence; and (D) citizenship.

(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 automatic voter registration agencies to: (i) employ the most cost-effective forms of transmission; (ii) implement measures, such as encryption, to secure information in order to prevent security breaches and the unauthorized use of personal information, as required under section 3 of chapter 93H; (iii) implement measures for reporting security breaches or the unauthorized use of personal information as required under section 3 of chapter 93H; (iv) provide protections against disclosure of confidential information, including home addresses, designated as confidential pursuant to section 8 of chapter 9A; (v) make application forms available in English and Spanish, and in such additional languages as the state secretary deems necessary or as required by law; and (vi) work with the state secretary to insure, by public education and other methods, that information sufficient to understand the process for and consequences of automatic voter registration is available in all languages, as required by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and all languages the agency offers or provides services in.

(g) Nothing in this subsection shall prevent an automatic voter registration agency from establishing and enforcing additional security measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of inter-agency data transfers.