Should Massachusetts offer same-day voter registration?

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Voting is a basic right given to U.S. citizens. The American Civil Liberties Union claims the state’s 20-day voter registration deadline has denied that right to thousands of potential voters in Massachusetts.

The American Civil Liberties Union took the Secretary of the Commonwealth to court Wednesday, in an attempt to end the state’s 20-day cutoff.

If you want to register to vote in Massachusetts, but don’t have a computer, you either have to go to your town clerk’s office or the Registry of Motor Vehicles, at least 20-days before an election.

The ACLU believes the cutoff is unconstitutional, and denies voters of their basic rights. Supporters argue that it’s necessary to ensure an orderly election.

Steve Wilk of Palmer told 22News, he agrees with the ACLU. “Voting is one of our core values of our country, to be able to elect officials who we want in office. If it’s a spur of the moment thing, or if something peaks their interest with a candidate or an issue or whatever else, they should be able to vote that day,” he said.

A majority of states have similar cutoffs, including Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania resident Kristen Hoyt told 22News, the cutoff almost prevented her from voting this past November. “I had to go online to find out what my polling place was, and they wouldn’t let me change it because it was fairly close to the election. If I could have changed it the same day, it would have been easier,” she said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than a dozen states offer same-day voter registration, including New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.