Council President Jesse Lederman to Propose Early Voting Option for Municipal Elections
Springfield City Council President Jesse Lederman is proposing the establishment of early in-person voting and mail-in voting options for municipal elections in the City of Springfield.
“10,953 Springfield residents exercised their right to vote early in-person or by mail in this week’s statewide election, and every one of those residents deserves the same right in our municipal elections,” said Council President Lederman, “Our local elections matter just as much as statewide elections, and every registered voter should have the opportunity to make their voice heard.”
“Adopting early voting options in our local elections will break down barriers to public participation for all voters, and especially for parents, senior citizens, individuals who are disabled, or who work alternative schedules,” continued Council President Lederman, “I also believe that as a matter of practicality we should have consistency in the voting options offered between our statewide and local elections.”
In 2022 Massachusetts established early in-person and mail-in voting options for statewide elections through passage of The VOTES Act. The VOTES Act also includes provisions for municipalities to adopt the same opportunities for voters in their local elections, but requires the municipality to opt in.
Leading up to the state election this week the City of Springfield offered early voting for two weeks across three different locations, and coordinated a successful mail-in ballot operation that offered the option to all registered voters. During that election 10,953 voters cast their ballot early either in-person or by mail out of 28,169 total votes cast.
The same options were available in the statewide primary in September, during which 5,784 residents participated in early voting in-person or by mail out of a total of 11,980 votes cast.
Establishing an early voting option in-person or by mail does not change anything on traditional Election Day, when polls across the city would be open as usual for anyone who did not vote early.
In order to authorize early voting options in local elections state law requires approval by the Election Commission and the City Council.
On Wednesday, Council President Lederman sent communication to the city’s law department and Election Commissioner requesting an opinion on the best way to begin the process, and stated he is prepared to initiate the necessary legislation in the City Council.