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Baker Bill Authorizes Mail-In, Early Voting in Newton

Voters line up outside of the Newton Free Library on the final day of early voting for the Massachusetts Primary in the 4th congressional district. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Voters line up outside of the Newton Free Library on the final day of early voting for the Massachusetts Primary in the 4th congressional district. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Offering another vote of confidence in new voting options, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday filed a bill to let the city of Newton use mail-in, early and expanded absentee voting next year.

The governor's bill, filed at the request of Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and the Newton City Council, would permit the city to use the voting options for a special election to be held in January or February.

In a letter to lawmakers, Baker said the bill extends the voting provisions used in this month's statewide election to a special election needed to fill two vacancies on the city council, and "permits Newton voters to avoid the risks of COVID-19 transmission that could be associated with in-person voting."

Baker's bill also states that "any eligible voter may vote early in-person for any special municipal election held on or after January 1, 2021 and before March 31, 2021 in the city of Newton." Under the bill, the voting period for in-person early voting shall run from "the sixth business day before the special election until the close of business on the business day preceding the business day before the election."

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