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Legislators reach deal on election bill that would permanently enshrine early, mail-in voting

House and Senate negotiators reached a deal Wednesday on a package of reforms that would permanently change elections.

The conference committee's bill, filed on Wednesday, would enshrine the pandemic-era mail-in and expanded early voting options as permanent parts of the state's electoral landscape. It stops short of adopting the Senate-backed policy of allowing would-be voters to register on the same day they cast their ballot, a reform the House instead sought to study in its legislation.

State law currently requires that voters be registered 20 days before an election. The conference committee, chaired by Sen. Barry Finegold and Rep. Michael Moran, settled on shortening that window to 10 days before an election.

The other two Democrats on the panel, Sen. Cindy Creem and Rep. Dan Ryan, signed off on the accord, while Republican conferees Sen. Ryan Fattman and Rep. Shawn Dooley did not.

"Although I am disappointed same-day registration was not included in the final bill, even with the Senate offering multiple compromise approaches, I will continue to push for its passage and plan to file legislation on the subject going forward," Creem said in a statement.

The compromise was filed with the Senate, and members of that branch could vote on it as early as Thursday.

The conference committee was created in February but didn't hold its first negotiating session until April.

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