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Gov. Baker Signs Bill Extending Mail-In Voting Through June

A 2020 election mail ballot in Massachusetts. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A 2020 election mail ballot in Massachusetts. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Gov. Charlie signed into law Tuesday a bill that extends mail-in and early voting options through the end of June in Massachusetts.

The options were originally approved last year as part of the state’s effort to make voting easier and safer during the pandemic.

The vote-by-mail provision was previously set to expire at the end of this month.

Extending the voting options would help cities and towns holding municipal elections in the spring, supporters said.

The Democratic-controlled House and Senate approved the bill last week and shipped it to the Republican's desk for his signature.

Some Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about extending the voting options before first conducting an analysis of how the options worked last year to identify any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats.

Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said that under the new law, no-excuse voting by mail will be available for all elections held on or before June 30, which includes all remaining 2021 annual town elections.

The new law will also allow towns to reschedule an upcoming town election until later in the spring, Galvin said.

The option to postpone a town election will give local officials time to make alternative arrangements for polling places currently located in schools that may be unable to accommodate voting while in-person learning is occurring.

“It is my hope that the Legislature will act as soon as possible on my proposal to make voting by mail an option for all future elections, so that voters, election officials, and campaigns can prepare accordingly for this fall’s city elections," Galvin said in a written statement Tuesday.

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