Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill Thursday to allow early voting, making Massachusetts the 33rd state to welcome the practice.
The new law will make it possible to register to vote online. It will allow 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register, so they’re ready to vote when they turn 18. And it will also let people vote up to 11 business days before an election.
“It’s a big step forward for making it easier to participate in our voting, to enable people to register,” Patrick says. “And anytime a bill like that is signed, first of all it’s something I do with pride and it’s good for the democracy.”
Advocates have long pushed for the law, saying it would boost voter turnout.
But research out of the University of Wisconsin suggests early voting does not increase participation, because people who vote early would likely vote no matter what.