On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts made its official debut as a state in the US. The state’s capital and biggest city is Boston and its land area is 10,555 square miles. The small state is the 44th largest state in the country. Major industries include textiles, publishing, electronics, tourism, fishing and education.
Massachusetts has the distinction of being the birth place of several U.S. Presidents. The state was the birth place of John Adams, who was born in Braintree (now known as Quincy) on October 30, 1735. Adams was the second President of the US and served from 1797 to 1801. John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, was also born in Braintree. He arrived in the world on July 11, 1767. He was the 6th President of the US and served from 1825 to 1829.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline and served as the 35th US President. He held office from 1961 to 1963. George Herbert Walker Bush also hails from Massachusetts. He was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton and served as the 41st US President from 1989 to 1993.
The origin of the name for the state is an Algonquin Native American word that is translated to “a big hill place.” The state goes by the nickname of the “Bay State.” The state moto is Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem - "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” That motto is apropos when the voting rights of felons are considered. In Massachusetts, felons gain their “liberty” automatically after they have served their sentence.
According to the Brennan Center of the New York University School of Law, the right to vote is restored for felons automatically after discharge from prison. Individuals who have been convicted of corrupt electoral practices” are barred permanently from regaining their voting rights. You can reference the information by clicking on this link.
Felon Voting Law in Massachusetts
Between 1988 and 1997, Massachusetts was one of a few states that permitted prisoners to cast a ballot. (Click this link for details.) However, the law currently states that prisoners who are felons cannot vote until they get out of prison or serve their time. Any felon whose crime involved corrupt practices with respect to voting procedures and/or processes cannot regain his voting status for life.
How a Felon in Massachusetts Can Restore Their Voting Rights
In Massachusetts, a felon must re-register to vote in order to vote. According to the Secretary of State’s Office for Massachusetts, voting registrants must be –
· US citizens
· At least 18 years old on the next scheduled election
· A Massachusetts resident
· Not currently incarcerated for a felony
Anyone who meets the above-listed requirements may register to vote by mail, in-person or online. The deadline for registering in a regular town meeting or in any electoral race is 20 days before the date of the scheduled meeting or election. The deadline for registering to vote at a special town meeting is ten days before the scheduled meeting.
For applicants to register online, they must maintain a signature on file the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you already have a state ID card or driver license, you can conveniently access the online registration application to register to vote or make changes to your address or party affiliation. Forms that are submitted on the Internet must be delivered by midnight of the registration deadline.
If qualifications bar you from registering online, you can register via the US mail. Download a registration form on the Secretary of State’s site and fill out the form, sign it and submit it to your area’s election official. When submitted by mail, the envelope holding the registration must be postmarked by the deadline for registering.
You can register in-person at a local election office or to the Secretary of Commonwealth’s office to the Elections Division. Voter registration is also offered at specific public assistance entities and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Any form that is filled out and submitted in-person is valid on the day it is signed. You can cross-reference the above details by clicking on this site.
Other Resources For Felons in Massachusetts
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