West Springfield joins in asking state legislature to allow mail-in voting

April 29, 2020 | Sarah Heinonen

WEST SPRINGFIELD – West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, along with 21 other mayors from across the state, signed a letter to Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka and Speaker of the State House Robert DeLeo advocating for the adoption of mail-in voting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The April 21 letter urges the legislative leaders to adopt the change.

“Every voter in the Commonwealth deserves a safe chance at participating in the democratic process, even through this extremely challenging time for our country,” the letter reads.

Reichelt said there were potential difficulties with the logistics of organizing such a drastic change to the voting system before the election on Nov. 3, but it is not impossible.

“Change, on this scale, is always difficult but I believe this pandemic is a great example of the need for vote-by-mail, and we certainly have the ability to make it possible,” Reichelt told Reminder Publishing.

The mayors did not lay out a plan or structure for a vote-by-mail system, but cited the established mail-in voting systems in Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, and noted that New York, New Hampshire and Maryland have joined them in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The state lawmakers that represent West Springfield are open to exploring a vote-by-mail system.

“All options should be on the table to ensure that people feel safe and have every opportunity to vote while maintaining the integrity of our elections,” said State Sen. James Welch.

State Rep. Michael Finn said, “Health experts are predicting that COVID-19 will still be with us in the fall and it is time to begin thinking about how to allow voters to safely and responsibly cast their ballots for the fall elections.” He said Secretary of State William Galvin is considering ways to make safe, efficient mail-in voting possible. “I do support expanding voting access through mail-in voting, but need to review the different versions of legislation before I can commit to supporting any bill.”

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