Keywords: Elections, Ballot, Primary. Secretary of the Commonwealth. Constitutional Law, Elections
[Excerpt] – “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature passed an emergency law designed to increase voting options in the September 1, 2020, primary election as well as the November 3, 2020, general election. See St. 2020, c. 115. A prominent additional voting option included in the act is expansive voting by mail. For the primary election, voters may apply for a “mail-in” ballot, so long as their application to vote by mail is received before 5 P.M. on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. See St. 2020, c. 115, § 6 (e) (2). Those mail-in primary election ballots must be completed and received by local election officials before 8 P.M. on September 1.See St. 2020, c. 115, § 6 (h) (3); G. L. c. 53, § 43. The mail-in ballots can be returned by mail, dropped off in drop boxes provided by local officials, or hand-delivered to election officials. See St. 2020, c. 115, § 6 (h) (1). A voter who has requested a mail-in ballot can also choose to vote in person on either election day, as always, or between August 22 and 28, 2020, at early polling locations established pursuant to the act, in lieu of submitting his or her mail-in ballot. See St. 2020, c. 115, § 7 (b) (1). . . .
. . . Having reviewed the emergency law and its implementation by the Secretary, we conclude that the existing September 1 deadline is constitutional. The new law does not significantly interfere with the constitutional right to vote in the September 1 primary election. Rather, the legislation enhances the right to vote in the primary, as well as the general, election, by providing multiple means of voting, including options to vote by mail that previously never existed.” – Click here for the full text of the SJC’s decision.