Our democracy must work for everyone
The Globe’s Dec. 13 editorial, “Mail-in voting delivered. Let’s not cancel it,” is spot-on. However, the state can and must do more.
While Massachusetts did achieve record turnout for the November election, thanks heavily to vote by mail, that turnout is deeply uneven across the state. While the state hit 76 percent voter turnout, turnout reached only 68 percent in Boston, 60 percent in Lowell, and 53 percent in Springfield.
Low voter turnout is not the only problem hurting these communities. In Springfield, for example, 27 percent of individuals live in poverty. More than 80 percent lack a bachelor’s degree. Both rates are well above the respective state average.
The issues that plague our diverse urban communities are broad and systemic. Yet by closing the voter turnout gap, we move one step closer to tackling them. We can close this gap not only by implementing vote by mail but also by passing new policies, such as same-day voter registration. We must also protect the in-person voting process by expanding early voting and ensuring that polling places are located near public transportation lines.
Vote by mail is great. But we must do more to ensure that our democracy works for everyone.
Policy and communications manager
MassVOTE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to voting rights and social justice.
So much more to do to make voting in Mass. more accessible, secure, and efficient
Re “Mail-in voting delivered. Let’s not cancel it”: The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts could not agree more with your call to make permanent the highly successful election reforms, especially mail-in voting for all, that were enacted temporarily for this fall’s elections. We will be working with Beacon Hill when the new session starts to enact legislation that allows early voting by mail, expands early in-person voting, offers drop boxes for ballot deposit, continues the online portal for applying for a mail ballot, and allows election officials to start preprocessing ballots ahead of Election Day. Other election reforms will be added to our list as legislation is drafted, including same-day voter registration and improved post-election audits.
This effort continues the work that the Massachusetts League has been doing for 100 years. Our Commonwealth must move to improve access to the ballot, particularly as too many states are turning in the opposite direction. These reforms will make voting in Massachusetts more accessible, more secure, and more efficient.
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts