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    State lawmakers urged to ease path to voting

    It is troubling that most states have considered legislation restricting the right to vote and almost half have passed such laws (“Half of states OK’d restrictive voting laws,” Metro, Jan. 8). While we are pleased that Massachusetts has not passed laws restricting voting, we are concerned that our state has not enacted measures widely used to make it easier to register and vote.

    This year the Legislature has the chance to enact such reforms and put Massachusetts in the vanguard of states protecting and encouraging voter turnout. The House of Representatives passed an election reform bill in November to enable online voter registration and early voting, important first steps. That bill will soon be considered by the Senate, and the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts urges the Senate to add other important reforms.

    Specifically, we ask the Senate to include a stronger early voting provision with evening and weekend hours and multiple locations in larger cities; pre-registration so that 16-year-olds are automatically registered to vote when they turn 18; and reform of the current practice of classifying a voter “inactive” for failure to return the town census form.

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    We strongly support post-election audits of random precincts to ensure that voting equipment is working accurately and to detect underlying problems in the election process.

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    And we urge the Senate to enable Election Day registration in Massachusetts, the most effective way to increase voter turnout and participation in our democracy.

    Anne Borg

    Marilyn Peterson

    Copresidents

    League of Women Voters

    of Massachusetts

    Boston