We at Here and Sphere support adding a vote by mail option to Massachusetts’s election laws.
It will not be easy to do, but methods can be devised. What follows are our suggestions:
( 1 ) to vote by mail, a registered voter must apply in writing to his or her City or Town clerk to receive an official ballot. When said voter’s request is received, he or she shall be marked on the clerk’s records as a requestor. No further requests in his or her name shall be allowed.
( 2 ) The clerk shall then, promptly, forward a ballot to said voter at his or her address of registration. Postage shall not be required, nor of the voter sending back said ballot by mail.
( 3 ) said voter can still change his or her mind and vote in person. If he or she does so, his or her in person vote shall be counted, and the mail-in ballot, if received, shall be destroyed.
( 4 ) city and town clerks shall maintain a written record of all vote by mail requests and shall record all mail vote ballots received by them. Said ballots may not be postmarked later than 5 pm on election day.
( 5 ) if a vote b y mail voter did not vote in person on election day, his or her mail ballot shall be accorded three business days after election day in which to arrive. Any ballot not received by then shall be destroyed if and when received, and said voter shall be recorded as not having voted.
( 6 ) each city and town shall hire one or more election aides to maintain said records and monitor them.
( 7 ) if adopted during this year, the vote by mail option shall apply at the next State election, beginning with that of 2022.
I do not see that this system will cost the vast amounts of money that opponents claim. There will be some administrative costs, yes, but hardly the torrent of costs claimed. I therefore offer Here and Sphere’s support for enactment of vote by mail legislation at the current legislative session, or at a supplemental session later in the year.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere