Massachusetts Democratic Candidate For Governor Says She’d Support Voter ID

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Massachusetts doesn’t require people to show identification to vote.

A Democratic candidate for governor said that she’s willing to change that.

Harvard professor Danielle Allen, one of three Democrats running for governor in the Commonwealth this year, revealed that she’s not opposed to voter ID. She made the revelation in an interview on WBZ Radio’s Nightside with Dan Rea on Wednesday, February 2.

“Actually you know, we’ve gotten to the point on this question I believe where we’ve achieved a compromise,” Allen said. “If you look at you know the unfortunately, regrettable most recent voting rights act that didn’t move forward, nonetheless it did have that compromise in it, and sort of recognition that this issue of identification is an important one, but then what that has to come along with is a very universal, fully-accessible approach and provision of that ID. So as long as that universally accessible provision is part of it, then yeah. We can agree on that.”

Allen also told NewBostonPost in a statement emailed by her campaign’s communications director that she’s open to enacting voter ID at the state level. 

“We urgently need to push to strengthen our democracy and expand voter participation in Massachusetts, and we should move the VOTES Act forward as the Senate passed it, including same-day voter registration,” Allen said, according to the written statement. “We can take up the question of voter ID separately, following the model worked out in the federal Freedom to Vote Act.”

The Freedom to Vote Act that Allen mentioned is a voting rights expansion bill in the U.S. Congress supported by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), among other Democrats. The bill uses West Virginia’s voter ID requirement as a model — which is broader than simply requiring a photo ID to vote. In West Virginia, people can obtain free IDs at the county clerk’s office. However, people can also show many forms of non-photo identification such as a birth certificate, hunting/fishing license, health insurance card, utility bill, or bank statement if they don’t have a photo ID.

The version of the VOTES Act (S.459) that Allen supports would allow same-day voter registration in the Commonwealth, make no-excuse mail-in voting permanent, expand early voting, and implement automatic voter registration, if enacted.

A pair of Republicans in the race for governor, Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty and former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), also support voter ID.

Holly Robichaud, who is working on the Doughty campaign, told NewBostonPost in an email message, “As the next Governor, Chris Doughty is committed to election integrity and he believes that voter identification would help people have faith in their electoral process.”

Diehl voiced support for voter ID in an October 4, 2021 press release in which he called the 2020 presidential election “rigged.”

“In our world, we show ID to do so many things:  driving a car, getting on a plane, buying cigarettes and alcohol, etc,” Diehl said in the written statement. “Why wouldn’t we show ID to vote to ensure we are who we say we  are? It is a no brainer. Additionally, with the Democrats’ push to show vaccination cards to get into businesses now, they would be completely hypocritical to ask people to show their personal medical information to shop in a store, but not an ID to vote in our elections.”

The other two Democrats in the race, however, oppose voter ID.

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey, a Democrat, has compared voter ID to Jim Crow laws.

“Voting restrictions pose a mounting threat to our democracy,” Healey said in a statement issued by the attorney general’s office on July 1, 2021. “Voter ID laws, long lines, and other discriminatory policies are taken from the same playbook as Jim Crow. All of us — elected officials, business leaders, activists, voters — need to rise up for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act. We cannot rest while the freedom to vote is threatened.”

Another Democratic candidate for governor, state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), thinks voter ID is a voter suppression tactic. A spokesman for her campaign provided NewBostonPost with a comment by email about it on Thursday, February 10.

“Sen. Chang-Diaz opposes voter ID laws and other voter suppression laws that make it harder for millions of Americans to exercise their sacred right to vote and disproportionately disenfranchise low-income voters and voters of color,” the spokesman wrote. “Sen. Chang-Díaz has led the charge for voting rights legislation for her entire career, including championing permanent vote-by-mail and same day voter registration in Massachusetts. She will continue to fight to preserve and expand access to the ballot box and ensure communities of color and low-income communities have an equal voice in our government.”

Healey’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Wednesday or Thursday this week.


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