BOSTON (State House News Service) — The state's top election official said Tuesday he can't mail ballot applications to voters, as required under a time-sensitive new law, until the Legislature approves funding for the bill that Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Monday.
The law requires Secretary of State William Galvin to send mail-in voting applications by July 15 in order to give voters time to request a ballot for the Sept. 1 primary elections, fill it out, and mail it back in.
"We had hoped to do it by that date. The legislation calls for it. But the Legislature has not sent the money. We can't pay for the postage. We can't pay for the printing until we have the postal permit. We can't buy the permit until we get the money," he told reporters outside the State House.
Galvin said a $5 million appropriation included in a more than $1 billion Senate spending bill that largely deals with COVID-19 appropriations "would probably get us going." The House and Senate spending bills differ, and it's unclear when legislative leaders will agree on a single bill.
The law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker offers voters three options: voting early, in-person in election day, or by mail. For the first time in the state, voters can take advantage of an early voting window before the statewide primary and the general election.
Asked about voter fraud, Galvin said his office is always concerned about the potential for false ballots.
"I know some candidates speculate about it sometimes. But it's untrue. The history with my office in terms of voter fraud, when we've had voter fraud issues in the past, it's been candidates who've been perpetrating fraud, and we've never hesitated to prosecute people," he said. "There is a warning on the application that illegal voting is punishable both by state and federal law. And I assure you if we have any indication fraud, we'll be up there prosecuting people right away."
By Chris Van Buskirk, State House News Service
(Photo: Secretary of State William Galvin. Getty Images)