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Saturday, July 13, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

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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