The Massachusetts Supreme Court has rejected an effort from state Republican lawmakers to restrict mail-in voting measures. The move effectively allows every voter to submit mail-in ballots in the September primary without requiring an excuse.
The Washington Examiner reports:
The court rejected the GOP lawmakers’ arguments, ruling that the party failed “to articulate a single plausible claim that anything in the VOTES Act poses a threat to secure voting” and that its efforts to restrict mail-in voting amounted to nothing more than “scaremongering,” according to the 87-page decision. Republicans had tried to overturn the VOTES Act, which made mail-in voting permanent in the state, arguing it made elections susceptible to fraud.
“Today’s decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court means that voters will be able to rely on the provisions of the VOTES Act in the upcoming elections. This is a big win for voting rights in Massachusetts,” Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said.
The VOTES Act, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in June, also expands early voting options for both the primary and general elections, ratifying election changes made in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic that saw record voter turnout. After being signed into law, election officials began preparing more than 4.7 million ballot applications to send to voters at the end of July before the primary in September.
Monday’s ruling upholds those changes, allowing millions of voters to cast their mail-in ballots once early voting for the primary election begins in late August. The court released a partial ruling on Monday to address the challenge before September’s primary election contest. A “full opinion explaining the court’s reasoning” will be released before the general election in November.
The ruling is the latest decision in a string of legal challenges from Republican lawmakers seeking to restrict mail-in voting access.