Voting In Massachusetts: You Never, Ever Need To Prove This?
Election Day is fast approaching here in Massachusetts and voting is top of mind. Civic engagement is a good thing and it's important not to get hopeless and apathetic.
This post is absolutely not meant to be controversial or polarizing in any way, but I just recently learned this fact about voting in Massachusetts. I love this country and I feel lucky and grateful to have been born here.
The Right To Vote In The U.S.
The right to vote (suffrage) was not always equal, thankfully it is today.
Today, citizens over the age of 18 cannot be denied the right to vote on the basis of race, religion, sex, disability, or sexual orientation. In every state except North Dakota, citizens must register to vote, and laws regarding the registration process vary by State.
I was unaware that you would never, ever be asked for a photo form of ID to prove your identity in Massachusetts to vote.
Isn't a photo real legit proof of what ties you to your name and address?
Massachusetts Voting Laws
Every state has their own rules.
I once asked a city clerk, "What's to say that I said I was my father-in-law when I checked in to vote and voted as him as well as me when I came back a second time that day"?
"That's on you.", I was told. A photo ID would prevent this.
It's Happened Before
Mark Atlas, of Worchester, Massachusetts, was charged in 2013 with voter fraud for voting under someone else's name. Although Atlas' attorney claimed it was just a prank, he admitted to sufficient facts for a guilty finding. The charge was continued without a finding for one year, and Atlas was ordered to pay $1000 in court costs, as well as serve 200 hours of community service.
When Massachusetts Asks For ID
You may be asked to show identification when you check in at your polling place for any of the following reasons:
- You are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election;
- You are an inactive voter;
- You are casting a provisional or challenged ballot;
- The poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification.
Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote. Examples of acceptable identification include:
- a driver's license
- state-issued ID card
- recent utility bill
- rent receipt
- a copy of a voter registration affidavit
- any other printed identification which contains the voter's name and address
It's a good idea to bring identification when you go to the polls.
You are never required to show a photo ID to vote in Massachusetts.
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