“Mass. 20-Day Voter Registration Deadline Is Constitutional, SJC Rules”


The requirement that Massachusetts voters register at least 20 days before the election in which they hope to cast a ballot does not violate the state’s constitution, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday.

Supporters of voting reforms, including Election Day registration and automatic registration, said the decision highlighted a need for lawmakers to act.

The Chelsea Collaborative v. Galvin lawsuit was filed in November 2016, seeking to allow three plaintiffs to vote in that year’s state and presidential election though they registered less than 20 days before Election Day. The ACLU of Massachusetts, Chelsea Collaborative and MassVOTE argued the cutoff disenfranchises thousands of otherwise eligible voters.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge found the deadline unconstitutional, and Secretary of State William Galvin appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court.

In an opinion written by Justice Kimberly Budd, a Gov. Charlie Baker appointee, the SJC said the registration deadline “does not disenfranchise any voter.”


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