The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill 37 to1 that would allow early voting and online voter registration. The House approved a similar measure last year.
The Senate bill goes farther than the house version. It would allow early voting in all state elections and primaries. The House version limits early voting to presidential elections and primaries.
The senate bill would also permit election day voter registration and allow 16 and 17 year olds to preregister to vote.
Senator Barry Finegold of Andover is co chair of the committee on Election laws.
“It’s about giving people the opportunity to participate in the process,” says Finegold, “and the more opportunity we can give people to participate in the process, it’s better for our society.
During floor debate, lawmakers shot down a Republican sponsored amendmemnt that would have required voters to show photo IDs before casting their ballots.
The legislation now moves to conference committee where lawmakers will try to work out their differences. If the bill becomes law, early voting would begin in 2016.