Massachusetts Senate to weigh bill on extending voting options

Extending the voting options would help cities and towns holding municipal elections in the spring, supporters said.

 In this Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 photo, an election worker inserts mail-in ballots into a voting machine at a school in Williamstown, Mass., during the state's primary election.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020 photo, an election worker inserts mail-in ballots into a voting machine at a school in Williamstown, Mass., during the state's primary election. –(Gillian Jones/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate is planning to meet in a formal session on Monday and could vote on a bill that extends mail-in and early voting options until June 30.

The options were originally approved last year as part of the state’s effort to make voting easier and safer during the pandemic.

Extending the voting options would help cities and towns holding municipal elections in the spring, supporters said.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is accepting emailed testimony on the proposal until 10 a.m. Monday.

The Massachusetts House approved the bill last week and the Senate could take it up Monday when it meets for a formal session beginning at 11 a.m.

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The session can be viewed by the public through the Senate’s website.

A number of Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about taking a vote to extend the voting options before first conducting an analysis of how the new options worked last year to identify any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.

Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin has proposed making the option permanent. He also supports expanding in-person early voting and implementing same-day voter registration in Massachusetts.

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