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National Voting Rights Center Praises Passage of Massachusetts Senate EDR Bill, Urges House to Act Before July 31 End of Legislative Session

2008-07-29 18:41:00

National Voting Rights Center Praises Passage of Massachusetts Senate EDR Bill, Urges House to Act Before July 31 End of Legislative Session

    BOSTON, July 29 /EMWNews/ -- Today, the Massachusetts

Senate passed an "Election Day Registration" (EDR) bill that would allow

Commonwealth voters to register and vote on election day as early as

November 2008, if signed into law this summer. In response, Miles Rapoport,

president of Demos, a national public policy center, and former Secretary

of the State of Connecticut, issued the following statement praising the

vote and urging the Massachusetts House to vote on the bill before the July

31 end of the 2008 legislative session.

    "Today, with bipartisan support, the Massachusetts Senate voted 33 to 5

to pass a critical reform to the Commonwealth's election law -- one that

could vastly increase voter participation, and which is very

straightforward to implement. Voters in 10 other states can register and

vote on the same day, and in some of those states that have allowed

Election Day Registration for decades in presidential election years they

usually have turnout rates 10 to 12 percentage points over states without

EDR. Also, research has shown that with EDR turnout can rise by 4 to 6


    "In fact, earlier this year, Demos published a report showing that, in

Massachusetts as elsewhere across the country, voter participation could

increase substantially with Election Day Registration -- and boost turnout

of some historically underrepresented blocs.

    "Some of the findings from the 'Election Day Registration in

Massachusetts' report include:

    -- Nationally, in 2004, EDR states had a voter turnout rate of 70.3

percent, versus 54.7 percent in states without EDR.

    -- In 2004, 59.1 percent of Massachusetts's voting age population cast

a ballot in the general election.

    -- If Massachusetts had EDR, indicators point to a likely boost in

turnout of around 5 percent.

    -- Turnout among those between the ages of 18 to 25 could increase by

9.7 percent.

    -- Turnout for those who have moved in the last six months could

increase by 7.9 percent.

    -- Turnout for African Americans could increase by 5.6 percent under


    "Also, Election Day Registration is policy that, according to a

recently published national survey, is recognized by election clerks as a

manageable process that does not lead to increased fraud or problems at the


    "The evidence that EDR will work for Massachusetts, and that it is in

the voters' best interests, is clear and irrefutable. We applaud the Senate

for its strong support for this Election Day Registration bill, and urge

the House to take this up immediately, before the session closes, and send

the bill to Governor Patrick for a signature so that, on November 4, more

voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can have their voice heard."

    For more information on EDR or to schedule an interview with Miles

Rapoport, contact Tim Rusch at or (212) 389-1407.

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