Universal Mail-In Ballots A Thing Of The Past In Massachusetts — For Now

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/07/09/universal-mail-in-ballots-a-thing-of-the-past-in-massachusetts-for-now/

Elections are back to normal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — for now.

This is the case as of July 1, 2021, as State House News Service reports. Back in March, Governor Charlie Baker extended mail-in voting for municipal elections until June 30. However, he didn’t extend it further than that and the legislature hasn’t gotten a bill done on the matter, either. For now, voters must provide a reason and obtain an absentee ballot if they want to vote by mail.

In the near future, this reversion to the way things used to be may affect a few municipal elections in the state.

The town of Somerset, for example, has a special election scheduled for Monday, July 12 to fill a vacancy on the board of selectmen.

On the town’s web site, it says, “Absentee voting by mail will be available for this election. If you have already applied for an ABSENTEE BALLOT for elections held this year (2021), you will receive an absentee ballot by mail. However, if you applied for an Early Vote by Mail ballot, you must complete an Absentee Ballot application for this election.”

“We’ve publicized the fact that they can absentee vote as long as they meet one of the circumstances,” Somerset assistant town clerk Kathleen Maiato told State House News Service. “We’ve had a good response to that. That’s how we’re proceeding.”

Fairhaven is another town that this change may affect. The town has a board of selectmen recall election later this month.

Fairhaven acting town clerk Linda Fredette would prefer if there was universal mail-in voting in the election scheduled for Monday, July 26.

“I wish that they would extend it forever because it was a great option,” Fredette told State House News Service. “Having it at their home where they can actually do research, to not be put on the spot to pick a candidate they’re not sure of, and then dropping it off at their leisure — a lot of people really liked it and I liked that option, too.”

Other towns with a municipal special election in the next six weeks include Gill, New Marlborough, Mattapoisett, and Plymouth.

Additionally, there will be several preliminary elections for mayoral races across the state in September and general elections for mayor in early November.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin recently told reporters that he wants both chambers of the legislature to come to an agreement on the matter to make mail-in voting permanent before these elections take place.

“What I want to stress is the importance of doing it as early as possible, not simply because we do have some elections in July, but it’s more about letting the municipalities plan,” Galvin said. “They have to plan to make sure the ballots are available. They also have to make sure that the voters know what they have to do to get ballots.”

Opponents of universal mail-in ballots say the system is vulnerable to election fraud.


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