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Hundreds register to vote at Boston’s March for Our Lives

Demonstrators are listening to impassioned pleas for stronger gun control on Boston Common from students who organized a massive rally in the wake of a Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead.
Demonstrators are listening to impassioned pleas for stronger gun control on Boston Common from students who organized a massive rally in the wake of a Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Amid the thousands of protesters and countless signs calling for an end to gun violence on Boston Common Saturday, a few young people with clipboards weaved through the crowd.

They were focused on long-term political change: registering people to vote.

Between 400 and 500 new Massachusetts voters were registered during the March for Our Lives, in an effort administered by state election officials at the request of march organizers, Secretary of State William Galvin said.

“I’m very pleased we did it. I think it was a great opportunity to transfer [demonstrators’] energy and concern into practical action,” he said in a phone interview Saturday night.

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Officials also registered voters at a booth on Spruce Street, right by an entrance to the Common, Galvin said.

At least 100 other new potential voters took registration forms to fill out at home because they did not have the required ID on them, Galvin said.

Galvin said it was the largest haul in new voters from one event that he could remember, besides the regular voting drives that his office conducts at train stations and other busy spots during election season.

“We’re sometimes asked to do other kinds of events if there’s some sort of a large meeting, if there’s a group of students, or labor groups . . . We’ll go wherever we’re asked,” Galvin said.

Election officials did not appear at similar marches in Springfield, Worcester, or other parts of the state because they were not asked to do so, Galvin said.

“We’re not trying to intervene in any events,” he said.

Some teens under the legal voting age of 18 also signed up to vote at the rally, he said. Under a state law enacted in 2015, 16- and 17-year-olds may pre-register to vote. The information is kept on file until they reach legal voting age, Galvin said.

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The law allows teenagers to ensure their voting status is taken care of before their lives get increasingly busy, Galvin said.

“Oftentimes, when they’re 18, they’re about to go out to college, and this isn’t the highest priority,” he said.


Jacob Carozza can be reached at jacob.carozza@globe.com.