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Letter: Democracies Are Built - And Thrive - On Civic Participation

Dear Editor,

   Democracies are built -- and thrive -- based on civic participation. Increased participation in the electoral process strengthens our democracy and makes it more resilient. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) legislation could bring 700,000 eligible citizens into the electoral process. At a time when there are attempts across the country to gerrymander districts and suppress voting, Massachusetts can and should take the lead with 10 other states to ensure that its citizens are registered to vote. 

   Automatic Voting Registration is a common-sense reform in which state agencies such as the DMV would register applicants to vote unless they choose to opt out.  This policy boosts registration rates, cleans up the rolls, and reduces the potential for voter fraud while lowering costs. 

   Ten states and the District of Columbia have already adopted automatic voter registration; including Oregon, California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Georgia, West Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, Illinois and Vermont. Organizations that support this change to the Massachusetts voting system include Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, The Massachusetts Voter Table, Progressive Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. 

   State Senator Eileen Donoghue is a co-sponsor of this bill but State Representative Sheila Harrington is not, not yet.  It’s time to call them and ask them to encourage Speaker Deleo to move H.2091, “An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud” out of committee and let it be voted on in the State House. Let’s make Massachusetts the 11th state to strengthen our democracy and adopt legislation that improves our voting process and encourages citizens to vote.

Thank you,

Deborah Santoro (Groton)  & 

Margaret Scarsdale (Pepperell)

Co-chairs, Indivisible Nashoba

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