Massachusetts Voter Registration Information

Massachusetts Voter Registration Database Report:
State Regulations and Procedures Implementing HAVA Voter Registration Requirements

Attached is the Massachusetts Voter Registration Information as set forth in Making the List, Database Matching and Verification Processes for Voter Registration as published by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University on March 24, 2006. This document contains available information about voter regtistration current as of the date of publication.

Federal law now requires, as of January 1, 2006, that states create and maintain statewide databases to serve as the central source of voter registration information. Citizens’ ability to get on the rolls (and thus their ability to vote and have their votes counted) will now depend on the policies and procedures governing the use of these databases in the voter registration process. Evidence demonstrates that poor policy and procedure choices could result in the unwarranted disenfranchisement of millions of eligible citizens attempting to register to vote. The new statewide databases, and their role in the voter registration process, are poorly understood, but extremely consequential.

This report, issued just as the state databases begin to come online, presents the first comprehensive catalog of the widely varying state database practices governing how (and in some cases, whether) individuals seeking to register will be placed on the voter rolls.

The report covers the state’s voter registration process, from the application form up through Election Day - including the intake of registration forms, the manner in which information from the forms may be matched to other government lists, the consequences of the match process, and any opportunity to correct errors. Each variation at each step of the process has tangible consequences for voters seeking to register and vote in 2006 and beyond.

IMPORTANT: Because of the possibility that voter information may differ from database to database (abbreviations, street designations, etc.) or because of data entry errors, valid voter registration data may be rejected. Individual voters are urged to contact their county clerk or local election board to determine that they are properly registered. Many such election authorities maintain online services for this purpose, other will require a telephone call or perhaps a written inquiry to determine the voter's eligibility.

As an addendum to this state report, a fill-in form for voter registration is presented which can be completed, printed and sent to the appropriate registratrar of voters (generally the county Clerk or local election board). The proper form of submission and location is included on the registration form.

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