Massachusetts 20-day voter cutoff ruled unconstitutional

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BOSTON (AP) – A Massachusetts judge has ruled that the state’s requirement that eligible voters register at least 20 days ahead of an election is unconstitutional.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins on Monday found the 20-day cutoff disenfranchises thousands of potential voters.

In his ruling, Wilkins pointed to the state’s adoption of early voting last year to argue against the 20-day cutoff.

That change allowed voters to begin casting ballots on Oct. 24, just five days after the Oct. 19 registration cutoff.

Democratic state Secretary William Galvin said the decision will spark administrative chaos. He said his office will appeal the ruling.

In his decision, Wilkins said lawmakers may pass laws deemed necessary to ensure the qualifications of voters, but the evidence “overwhelmingly shows no such necessity for the Massachusetts registration cutoff.”

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