Mayor Walsh signs ordinance to increase access to voting in Boston

The ordinance makes it easier, officials said, for residents to register to vote during everyday interactions with city government, from Boston Public Schools to city libraries.
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The ordinance makes it easier for Boston residents to register to vote. Photo: Provided by City of Boston

Mayor Marty Walsh signed on Monday an ordinance to increase access to voting in Boston.

 

Walsh joined City Councilor Josh Zakim and other officials to sign the legislation, which aims to make it easier for residents to register to vote when interacting with any city departments, from the Boston Public Library to the Boston Transportation Department and so on.

 

Zakim spearheaded the voter registration access bill, which was unanimously approved by Boston City on April 11.

 

"Voting is an important right and pillar of our democracy," Walsh said in a statement. "Boston is leading the way on reducing barriers to voter registration that disproportionately impact some communities over others. From signing up for a residential parking sticker to enrolling a child in Boston Public Schools, we will provide new opportunities to residents to complete this important step in getting their voice heard in Boston, in the Commonwealth, and in this country."

 

Now, residents can more easily submit their voter registration forms when they have “routine interactions” with city government.

The ordinance requires voter registration forms to be made available at Boston Public Schools high schools and welcome centers, Boston Public Library neighborhood branches and all Boston Centers for Youth and Families community centers.

It also requires that the Office of the Parking Clerk provide voter registration forms to all residents who are applying for neighborhood parking permits and for that office to share those completed forms with the Boston Elections Department.

These changes will eliminate barriers to voter registration, officials said, making the process more accessible to all.

“This is a proactive step that we are taking in the city of Boston while we continue to wait for the state to enact [Automatic Voter Registration],” Zakim said in an earlier statement. “Ultimately, we need to get statewide AVR to help reverse the downward trend of voter turnout in Massachusetts. It’s too important an issue for the people of our commonwealth.”

 
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