The 2020 presidential election was historic for many reasons, among them, the special safety measures that state election administrators had to suddenly implement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its effort to ensure voter safety in the 2020 election process, the Nevada legislature passed a law that would require all counties to mail absentee ballots to registered voters during emergency situations. The law aimed to make it easier for Nevadans to vote without having to physically go to the polls. The law also provided some procedural flexibilities in that it permitted the collection of mail-in ballots by third party collectors.
automatic voter registration
By: Adriana Dunn
On August 9, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an automatic voter registration (AVR) bill, making Massachusetts the fourteenth state to approve of AVR. The law became effective January 1, 2020, over a month before the registration deadline for the 2020 primaries. The new system works with existing state agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and Massachusetts health insurance systems (MassHealth and the Commonwealth Health Connector). A U.S. citizen in Massachusetts will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew: a driver’s license, a learner’s permit, a state ID, MassHealth benefits, or health insurance through the Mass Health Connector. After applying for one of these services, the citizen will be mailed a postcard informing them that they have been registered to vote, unless they should choose to opt-out.
By: Adriana Dunn
On October 6, 2021, the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed the VOTES Act, aimed at expanding the temporary rights granted to citizens as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the highlights of the bill include permanent no-excuse mail-in voting, expanded early voting options, same day voter registration, a correction to the automatic voter registration system implemented in 2020, and assistance for incarcerated individuals to exercise their right to vote.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic produced brand new challenges, with the temporary implementation of many of the provisions found in the VOTES Act, Massachusetts citizens set record voter participation numbers. 3.7 million votes were cast in the 2020 election, a majority being either early ballots or mail-in ballots.
By: Laura Misch
During the November 2018 mid-term elections, Nevada voters had the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” on Question 5—a ballot measure that would establish an automatic voter registration system in the state. The voters’ answer was a resounding yes, with approximately sixty percent voting in favor of the initiative. This enactment of an automatic voter registration system follows a larger trend that is quickly sweeping the nation. Prior to the 2018 elections, a total of eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, passed automatic voter registration. In 2018, Nevada became one of the six newest states to enact such a system. However, passing the ballot measure has proven to be only half the battle. [Read more…] about Implementation of Nevada’s “Motor Voter” Initiative Races Toward the Finish Line
By: Jakob Stalnaker
Voter ID legislation has become an intensely ideological issue. Traditionally, Republicans support such legislation, while Democrats tend to oppose it. Further, some Democratic states have innovated automatic voter registration, which automatically registers voters unless they choose to opt out of the voter rolls. In 2016, West Virginia passed compromise legislation which could prove to be a model for other states in the future. Conservative and liberal legislators passed an election law bill, HB 4013, which joined together automatic voter registration with a voter ID requirement. Further, the voter ID portion of the bill had a number of provisions which made it more palatable to traditional opponents, garnering the bill bipartisan support.