Through litigation and advocacy, the ACLU is working to protect and expand access to the ballot, and fighting back against attempts to curtail an essential right in our democracy.
In 2014, Governor Patrick signed into law a set of important ACLU-backed measures, including early voting, online voter registration, pre-registration for 16-year-olds, and post-election audits to ensure every vote is properly counted – but we must do more. Following the 2016 and 2020 elections, the fight for voting rights remains as critical as ever.
The ACLU of Massachusetts has vocally advocated for automatic voter registration, which was passed in 2018. Automatic voter registration breaks down barriers to voting by automatically registering eligible Massachusetts residents through the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth. By modernizing how our voter registration system works, nearly 700,000 more eligible Massachusetts voters now have the opportunity to engage in the democratic process.
The 2020 election saw the highest levels of voter participation in US history, but assault on the Capitol that followed was a reminder of just how fragile our democratic institutions really are. We are committed to shoring those institutions up.
Since that election, we have been fighting to pass legislation that would make permanent several of the election protection measures passed in the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include expanded early voting, mail-in voting, and jail-based voting protections. We’re also seeking to implement much-needed reforms like same-day voter registration.
On election days, the ACLU also monitors polling sites for voter challenges and intimidation, and provides voter registration information throughout the year. During the 2020 election, we trained and deployed hundreds of poll monitors for this purpose.
Voting rights depend on the principle of “one person, one vote,” which in turn depends on fairly drawn districts, empowering communities to election people who truly represent their wishes. As a member of the Drawing Democracy Coalition, we work with community partners to inform the actual line drawing process, enabling us to have a stronger impact than with lawsuits alone.
Visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website to register to vote, find your polling location, learn about your ballot, and more.