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Mass. Early Voting And Vote-By-Mail Compromise Bill Appears Headed To Baker's Desk

King County Election workers collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary on March 10 in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (John Froschauer/AP)
King County Election workers collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary on March 10 in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (John Froschauer/AP)

The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously for an early and mail-in voting bill compromise Thursday and appeared to be making quick work of a bill addressing more than $1 billion in federally reimbursable spending tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The voting bill could make it to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk by the end of the day Thursday, and senators were being emailed bundles of amendments marked for approval and disapproval before the Senate even formally began taking up the spending bill.

There's a rush to get the voting bill done since Baker's views on it are not known and the proposal calls for mail-in ballot applications to be sent to the electorate by July 15, which is less than two weeks away. The primary itself, on Sept. 1, is less than two months away.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Senate was in the midst of working through the nearly 150 amendments filed to the $1.1 billion supplemental spending bill covering COVID-19 pandemic-related expenses. One successful amendment filed by Sen. Walter Timilty would authorize a new $500 bonus for Massachusetts National Guard members who serve on the front lines of the pandemic.

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