A new voting bill signed into law by Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick is getting two thumbs up from the NAACP.
Under the new early voting law which goes into effect next year, voters will be able to cast their ballots up to 11 days before Election Day.
Governor Patrick commented on the law just after signing it, saying, “Whenever we have a law that expands access to the ballot and makes it easier for people to register and to vote, it makes our democracy better.”
The new law also allows 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote. This provision aims to help encourage teens to continue voting through adulthood.
It also requires an online portal to check voter registration status and allows post-election audits of randomly selected precincts after presidential elections.
Jotaka Eaddy, senior advisor to president and CEO and senior director of Voting Rights at the NAACP calls it, “A great step forward for Massachusetts’ voters and an example that governors throughout the nation should follow.”
She says it is imperative that citizens of every race, color and creed have unfettered access to the ballot box, and the new law helps provide that.
Another member of the NAACP also approves. Juan Cofield, president of the NAACP New England Area Conference says, “This new voting law is about giving more people access to the ballot box and encouraging youth participation in future elections. We applaud Gov. Deval Patrick for signing a bill into law that puts Massachusetts at the forefront of expanding voter participation.”
Lawmakers have also rejected a Republican-sponsored amendment to require voter identification at the polls.
According to Masslive.com, “Although Massachusetts already had absentee balloting, an absentee voter needed to certify that they will be out of town on Election Day; they are incapacitated; or their religious beliefs prohibit voting on a particular day.”
Massachusetts currently has more than four million eligible voters. Only three million participated in the last presidential election.
According to its website, the NAACP, founded in 1909, is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.