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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

MA voters urged to register, complete mail-in ballots ahead of upcoming primary

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024   

Voters in Massachusetts are being encouraged to complete their applications for mail-in ballots ahead of next month's presidential primary. The deadline to register to vote is February 24th and the deadline to complete an application for a mail-in ballot is February 27.

Julia Kupferman, communications and civic engagement coordinator with Massachusetts Voter Table, says the application allows eligible voters to request mail-in ballots for the next three upcoming elections.

"That way they don't have to coordinate for another mail ballot. They can just have any and all sent to them and do it from the comfort of their home," she explained.

Kupferman pointed out that Massachusetts is a "no-excuse" early voting and mail-in ballot state, meaning voters don't need to provide a reason for casting a ballot through the mail. State officials say more than a half-million eligible voters have already applied.

Voting-rights advocates say Massachusetts has made great strides in improving access to the ballot, but there's more work to be done.

According to Kupferman, the Voting ACCESS Act would merge the forms for absentee and mail-in ballots, which often create confusion for voters and more work for town clerks. The bill would also allow for same-day voter registration, which studies show would increase voter turnout in Black and Latinx communities anywhere from 2% to 17%.

"So, that would be really huge in terms of making sure that we're targeting our reforms to communities of color and making sure that we meet people where the need is," she continued.

Kupferman said Massachusetts is one of just a few states that tie voter registration rolls to municipal census forms. People who fail to complete the forms often discover they're listed as an "inactive voter" on Election Day and must then use a provisional ballot, of which two-thirds are routinely rejected. She is a proponent of the state connecting voter rolls to U.S. Postal Service change-of-address forms and the national ERIC voter roll program.


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