House will seek to extend vote by mail option

Boston Statehouse

A woman wearing gloves drops off a mail-in ballot at a drop box in Hackensack, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The House will seek to extend vote by mail options until June 30, 2021, Speaker Ron Mariano announced Wednesday night.

In a statement, Mariano said the move will respond to local concerns and will occur while House lawmakers work on a bill to make voting by mail, which was introduced last year, a permanent fixture in Massachusetts elections.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause devastation in our communities, we must find commonsense ways to empower voters, protect residents and explore ways to keep essential aspects of life as normal as possible,” he said. “Since we first enacted vote by mail, it has proven to be secure and even increased voter turnout in many places. The House looks forward to making vote by mail a permanent way for residents to exercise their right to vote during and beyond the pandemic.”

Vote by mail authorizations are scheduled to expire March 31, but there’s broad support in both branches for an extension to accommodate any local elections scheduled for this spring, while work on a larger package of election reforms continues.

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