Patrick catches Galvin’s Hail Mary pass on voter registration

As reported in the Fall issue of CommonWealth, after the failure of Election Day registration, Secretary of State William Galvin supported legislation that would allow certain people to vote in Tuesday’s election without resorting to casting a provisional ballot. With the general election right around the corner, such a move was the election administration equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.

PoweryoursGov. Deval Patrick played wide receiver today with a big catch, signing into law an election change that would allow people who did not re-register within a year and a half of moving to go back to their former neighborhood polling places to vote.

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Gabrielle Gurley

Senior Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

About Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle covers several beats, including mass transit, municipal government, child welfare, and energy and the environment. Her recent articles have explored municipal hiring practices in Pittsfield, public defender pay, and medical marijuana, and she has won several national journalism awards for her work. Prior to coming to CommonWealth in 2005, Gabrielle wrote for the State House News Service, The Boston Globe, and other publications. She launched her media career in broadcast journalism with C-SPAN in Washington, DC. The Philadelphia native holds degrees from Boston College and Georgetown University.

Will the plan create more problems than it solves? We’ll find out in less than a week, but suffice to say that city and town clerks won’t be too happy about this eleventh-hour hour move. For starters, the changes applies to state and national races only, leaving open the question of what happens with local contests.

This confusing compromise makes genuine Election Day registration look really good right about now.

Logo from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office.