On Monday, April 23, Mayor Martin Walsh joined City Councilor Josh Zakim and city officials to sign an ordinance increasing access to voter registration.
The new legislation aims to provide more opportunities for residents to submit voter registration forms when routinely interacting with City departments and agencies such as the Boston Public Library, the Boston Transportation Department, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families.
“Here in Boston we are certainly working and committing new ways in increasing ways of voter registration and participation in our elections,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “What we’re doing today is bringing a whole new critical service to city organizations and to our community to get people to vote.”
The new ordinance also requires the Office of the Parking Clerk to provide registration forms to residents applying for neighborhood parking permits, and to share all completed forms with the Boston Elections Department.
“We have an opportunity here and we are going to make it easier for people when they are doing routine interactions with city government – whether its for resident parking permit, a library card, in our public schools, at our community centers – to register to vote, which is one of our most important civil rights,” said Zakim.
He continued, “As chair for our Committee on Civil Rights in the Boston City Council this has been a main focus for us; working to find creative ways that we can do this within the city.”
Zakim initially filed the proposal in 2017 after the City Council adapted a resolution he offered last year endorsing a statewide bill for Automatic Voter Registration (AVR). The Boston City Council unanimously passed the ordinance on April 11, 2018.