Josh Zakim Statement on Senate's Passage of Automatic Voter Registration Legislation

July 13th, 2018

The following is a statement from Josh Zakim on the Senate’s passage of legislation establishing Automatic Voter Registration in Massachusetts:

“The members of the Senate should be commended for unanimously passing the Automatic Voter Registration legislation today. We’re now hopeful that Governor Baker follows suit in approving this bill, at long last. Automatic Voter Registration is a major step forward in making it easier for eligible residents to vote across the Commonwealth.

“Our campaign for Secretary of State has focused on expanding voting rights and ensuring that Massachusetts residents have access to their government. While Automatic Voter Registration is a huge win for democracy, there is much more we can and should be doing in Massachusetts.

“For more than two decades, there has been a lack of leadership on voting rights, and as a result Massachusetts is in the unfamiliar position of being a follower instead of a leader. Thirteen states and D.C. have already enacted Automatic Voter Registration, which has resulted in millions of new people being registered to vote across the country.

“Furthermore, 17 states and D.C. have already enacted same-day registration, but we are not one of them because Secretary Galvin spent the past year in court fighting to maintain the arbitrary 20-day cutoff rule, rather than working with the legislature to implement a common-sense and orderly same-day system. I hope today’s Senate vote, and Secretary Galvin’s newfound and expedient support for voting reforms, will prompt him to reevaluate his choice to waste another year when more eligible people in Massachusetts could have voted.

“Lastly, I’m hoping the Legislature will consider taking up the other electoral reforms I support, including no-excuse absentee voting, ranked choice voting, and weekend voting. Turnout in state primaries has plummeted over the last 20 years, and we, as elected leaders, need to do everything we can to make it easy for people to exercise their most basic civil right, the right to vote.”