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With no public hearings or debate, House lawmakers move to extend universal early mail-in voting through June 30

CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
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WOBURN — House leadership on Beacon Hill apparently cares little about potential concerns regarding Massachusetts’s first-ever use of universal mail-in voting.

On Monday, Democratic House leadership and Republican House leadership “were complicit in their efforts to hide from the public a bill filed by Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones that extends universal mail-in voting through the end of June,” Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said Tuesday.

“Representative Jones and the Democrats worked together to circumvent the rules and the intent of an informal session to ram through a piece of controversial legislation without a debate, without a hearing, and without a roll call,” Lyons added. “It’s a complete and total disgrace.”

Monday featured an informal House session attended by only three lawmakers. According to House Rules, “formal debate, or the taking of the sense of the House by yeas and nays, shall not be conducted during such informal session” and further stipulates that instances such as informal sessions are “reserved for the consideration of non-controversial business which does not give rise to debate.”

“How can the Republican minority leader claim that extending universal early mail-in voting is ‘non-controversial’?” Lyons said. “It’s especially disappointing that Representative Jones is refusing to use his position to support other Republicans who are actually working to get answers to the public as to how last fall’s experiment with universal mail-in voting went.”

Lyons referenced a letter addressed to House Speaker Ron Mariano and signed by Republican state representatives Nick Boldyga of Agawam, Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, and Marc Lombardo of Billerica, along with Republican state Sen. Ryan Fattman of Webster. The letter, introduced Tuesday, calls attention to a formal request issued to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin in December to conduct a strengths-and-weaknesses analysis of last fall’s use of no-fault early mail-in voting.

“Senator Fattman and representatives Boldyga, Dooley, and Lombardo should be commended for reminding Jones and the Democrats that serious questions remain unanswered regarding mail-in voting,” Lyons said. “It’s too bad Representative Jones holds such little regard for public input and debate that he would go along with the Democrats and ram this through during an informal session.”