Secretary of State William Galvin wants to see Congress pass a law guaranteeing that every voter can cast a mail-in ballot in federal elections.
Massachusetts authorized mail-in voting for last year's elections in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the House this year plans to extend vote-by-mail until June 30 while also working to make it a permanent feature of the elections here. The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday began polling its members on a bill that would authorize the June 30 extension, suggesting the topic will soon come before the full House.
Galvin, the state's top elections official, voiced concern in a Sunday statement around what his office described as "recent moves by several states to restrict access to the voting by mail." He said the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump was a "chilling reminder that democracy is fragile, but this coordinated effort by many around the country to make it increasingly more difficult to legally cast a ballot is even more chilling."
Congress this week is expected to take up a sweeping elections package, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has blasted as a recycled version of "failed legislation that would have Washington Democrats grab unprecedented power over how America conducts its elections and how American citizens can engage in political speech."
"While I strongly support state-run elections, the federal government needs to have some universal standards in place to protect the rights of voters," said Galvin, a Brighton Democrat. "This partisan attempt to limit voting options in many states cannot be allowed."
He suggested making federal election funding contingent upon a state allowing vote-by-mail with certain minimum standards.