BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey is throwing her support behind bills to allow same-day voter registration in Massachusetts and to automatically register people to vote.
“Our residents should be able to register and vote on the same day, and registration should be easy and automatic,” Healey said Wednesday during a lobby day run by voting rights groups.
Bills pending before the Legislature would let the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth automatically register citizens to vote. A person could opt out if they choose to.
The bills, H.2091/S.373, are sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, and Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton.
Advocates for the legislation point to the 680,000 Massachusetts residents who are eligible to vote but not registered. They say automatic registration would increase the likelihood that these people will vote. It would also eliminate errors that come with paper forms and duplicate registrations when people move.
Ten other states have passed automatic voter registration.
A group of progressive and voting rights groups are supporting the effort, including the ACLU, several teachers unions, the NAACP, Berkshire Democratic Brigades, Berkshire Women’s Action Group and others.
Healey said making it easier to vote is important to preserve democracy in an era when some state legislators elsewhere in the country are trying to make it harder to vote.