New polling sites for some this year

There are just under three weeks until the Sept. 26 preliminary election, which includes a four-person run-off for mayor of Boston. Now is the time for voters to tune in and get ready to fulfill their civic duty.

This week, the city’s Election Department announced several changes to polling locations. Voters in several Boston neighborhoods— including Dorchester and Mattapan— should double-check to make sure they go to the right location.

In District 3, three precincts will be moved. Voters in Ward 13, Precinct 5, who previously went to the Strand Theatre to cast ballots, will instead be asked to vote in a meeting room at Uphams Crossing, a residential building located at 530 Columbia Rd., at the corner of Quincy Street.

Likewise, voters in Ward 7, Precinct 10, who used to vote at the Uphams Corner Health Center will also be directed to Uphams Crossing. Voters in Ward 8, Precinct 6, who used to go to Vine Street Community Center will now vote at the Kroc Salvation Army Center on Dudley Street.

In Ward 14, two precincts— 12 and 13— will no longer vote at the Berea SDA School on Morton Street. Instead, they’ll be directed around the corner to 393 Norfolk St. at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, also known as Womack Hall.

Finally, in District 7, voters in two Ward 8 precincts— 5 and 7 — will also go to the Kroc Community Center on Dudley Street. District 7 is one of the few council districts with a competitive election. The names of 13 candidates will be on the ballot on Sept. 26— all seeking to win one of the two top spots and move onto the Nov. 7 final election. Keep in mind: There are four men on the ballot for mayor. In addition to incumbent Mayor Martin J. Walsh, there are three challengers— Tito Jackson, Joseph A. Wiley, and Robert Cappucci.

Massachusetts should automatically enroll all eligible residents as voters

Last month, Illinois became ninth state in the Union to encourage voting by all eligible citizens by enacting an automatic voter registration law. The measure will enroll an estimated one million people onto the voter rolls.

The other states that permit automatic registration include West Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Georgia, Alaska, Colorado, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Nevada voters will seek to overrule their governor, Brian Sandoval, who vetoed a similar law in that state last year.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts should join the club. According to the State House News Service, as many as 700,000 eligible Massachusetts residents are not currently registered to vote. Unfortunately, earlier attempts to move toward automatic registration have been stymied in the House of Representatives.

There is a renewed push in this legislative session to make it happen – and we hope our elected delegates from Boston will get behind it.
According to the News Service, the bills filed would instruct state agencies like the Registry of Motor Vehicles to “transmit a person’s name, age, residence, and citizenship information to municipal boards of registrars within five days of collecting it.” People would have the option of “opting out” if they don’t wish to participate.

One of our local elected representatives, Rep. Evandro Carvalho, would include colleges and universities in the system.

Massachusetts should be leading the charge to eliminate unnecessary hurdles for voters. We hope that automatic registration will be approved this year — in time for next year’s state elections.

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