Mass. Lawmakers Take Up Bill To Increase Voter Turnout

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — State lawmakers took up a bill on Wednesday that would make voting in Massachusetts obligatory and impose a few on those who don't cast a ballot.

The Joint Committee on Election Laws took up a bill filed by Cape Cod State Rep. Dylan Fernandes that would require all eligible voters in Massachusetts to cast ballots in the November general election.

"We want or we should want the decisions that people make, that elected officials make and that decision about who is elected to be made by every single person," said Former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapaport.

He testified in support of the legislation. "We would have an immediate and major increase in voting participation, actual voting participation would be far more represented over the population as a whole," said Rapaport.

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He said that policies to discourage voting would become almost impossible. The bill would also ban deadlines for registering to vote for any election in Massachusetts.

Rapaport said he believes it would even change how campaigns are conducted in the state. "Campaigns would have to appeal to everyone, since everyone would be voting," said Rapaport.

The bill would also impose a $15 fee for every general election an eligible voter misses out on. The fee would be added to the voter's state tax liability.

WBZ NewsRadio's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports:

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