Automatic voter registration proposed for Massachusetts

Northampton Rep. Peter Kocot has filed bill

BOSTON (WWLP) – Ten states now automatically register their voters, but Massachusetts is not one of them. One western Massachusetts lawmaker is working to change that, however.

Illinois became the most recent state to adopt automatic voter registration, after the state’s governor signed a bill into law this week. Election reform advocates hope Massachusetts will do the same to increase voter turnout, saying that the reform is long overdue.

Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton) filed a bill to automatically register eligible voters and enhance safeguards against fraud. If passed, registration agencies would transmit electronic records including name, address, and citizenship information to the city or town’s board of registrars.

Under the bill, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin will implement regulations for automated voter registration including ensuring eligible voters are registered and limiting state and local costs for registration. But Galvin told 22News he sees some logistical problems with the proposal.

“The problem with the idea is that they have to put money behind it to make it work. Otherwise, it would lead to chaos in the election process,” Galvin said.

The bill is currently under review in the state’s election laws committee.