SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION could become a sticking point between the two branches as the House this week prepares to take up a voting reform bill that passed the Senate last year.
The House version of the legislation, which is likely to emerge from the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, is expected to include early voting, vote-by-mail, and a host of other reforms. But it’s unclear whether same-day voter registration, which the Senate included in its bill, will be in the House version.
House Speaker Ron Mariano said on Monday after a meeting with Senate President Karen Spilka and Gov. Charlie Baker that he previously voted against same-day voter registration when it was proposed as an amendment to an earlier voting reform package. That amendment was soundly defeated.
Asked if he still felt the same way about same-day voter registration, Mariano indicated he did but hedged a bit. “I’ll listen to the debate and see if it changes my mind,” he said.
Mariano also said he didn’t know whether the bill emerging this week in the House would include same-day voter registration.
During the pandemic, lawmakers instituted a number of voting changes to allow voting by mail and, to ease crowds at the polls, let people vote prior to Election Day. Those changes were popular with voters, and may have played a role in boosting turnout.
The Senate last fall passed a bill that would make many of those voting reforms permanent and also included a provision allowing unregistered voters to show up on Election Day or earlier and register and vote at the same time. Many states, including most of the New England states, already allow same-day registration.