Saturday, September 5, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: "Voting reforms reinvigorated democracy"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin: 

"When the Legislature passed an unprecedented expansion of mail-in voting, they did it for this year only, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that makes crowding into polling places unsafe.

But now, amid record-breaking turnout in this week’s primary, some are calling for mail-in voting to become a permanent feature of Massachusetts elections.

“Voter turnout in the September 1 primary makes one thing abundantly clear– vote by mail should be here to stay,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, executive director of MassVOTE, a coalition that aims to expand voting access, in a statement.

The last time turnout in a state primary election topped 1 million was in 1990, when 1.5 million people voted. This year, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin says that turnout will be more than 1.5 million, although he still did not have a final number. "

"AT THE START of July, the Legislature passed a landmark bill to expand early voting, implement a secure vote-by-mail system, and strengthen safety measures for in-person voting. Tuesday’s primary was the first major test of these important reforms. They worked.

More people voted in this year’s state primary than ever before. According to preliminary data, over 1.6 million voters cast ballots, totaling more than a third of all registered voters. In recent state primaries, fewer than 1 million voters have showed up at the polls, with voter participation rates mired in the teens and low twenties. This year, several competitive races for Congress helped increase voter participation, but the high turnout was also a product of Massachusetts’ new election laws. In the face of an ongoing  pandemic, Massachusetts did not simply protect voting rights—we reinvigorated our democracy.

The Legislature’s voting reforms gave voters several different ways to cast their ballot. For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, voters had the choice to vote by mail, to vote in person during a week-long early voting window, or to vote in person on the day of the election. The intent was to empower voters to vote in a way that worked best for them, and it is clear that people availed themselves of the opportunity. Over 1 million people requested mail-in ballots, 180,000 people voted during early voting, and hundreds of thousands more went to the polls on election day. While the vast majority of people who requested a mail-in ballot were able to return it successfully, voters still had the ability to vote in person if they encountered difficulties in the vote-by-mail process."
Continue reading the article online

Commonwealth Magazine:  "Voting reforms reinvigorated democracy"
Commonwealth Magazine:  "Voting reforms reinvigorated democracy"

No comments:

Post a Comment