Should Massachusetts have same-day voter registration?

The state's branch of the ACLU believes so. The organization filed a civil lawsuit against the state last year, arguing that the current law — which requires new voters to register 20 days before a federal election in order to vote — is unconstitutional and keeping people unjustly away from the polls.

"The arbitrary 20-day cut-off ... is just that: it's arbitrary," Carol Rose, executive director of ACLU Massachusetts, told Boston Public Radio. "There's no rational basis to have it." 

The civil lawsuit went to trial last week and concluded Monday. More than 12 states currently allow same-day voter registration

The push for same-day registration in Massachusetts has some high-profile backers, including Secretary of State William Galvin. Galvin told Greater Boston last week that he has "repeatedly said he'd support same-day," as long as state law is changed and polling places have the ability to cross-check the central voter registry when registering new voters.

Other state leaders aren't convinced. Last week on Boston Public Radio, Governor Charlie Baker said same-day registration was a "really hard sell" for him.

"If people want to vote, it's not that hard," he said. "You go down to the Town Hall, you can do it when you get your driver's license. There's a million different ways. We've made it pretty easy for people in Massachusetts to vote."

But Rose believes otherwise — and she also believes that the state's constitution is on her side.

"John Adams wrote our constitution here in Massachusetts, and said: 'You have a right to vote,'" Rose said. "He didn't say: 'If you register 20 days in advance.'"

To hear more from Carol Rose, click the audio link above.