A scheduled hearing Tuesday in a mail-in voting lawsuit will take place Friday instead, officials announced, two days after the deadline for Secretary of State William Galvin to send ballot applications to all 4.5 million registered voters.
The Supreme Judicial Court scheduled a hearing in the lawsuit that voters and advocacy organizations filed against Galvin on Monday, but just more than an hour before it was set to begin, a spokesperson for the court announced that the proceeding was pushed until 2 p.m. Friday "at the request of the petitioner."
Organizations that brought the case want Galvin to comply with a July 15 deadline to send applications for mail-in primary ballots outlined by a new state law, a step the secretary said he cannot take until the Legislature makes additional funding available for postage.
Amid disagreement between the petitioners and Galvin over whether CARES Act funding can be used to send applications, another batch of money could be imminent. The Senate agreed late Monday evening to a House amendment on a $1.14 billion supplemental spending bill that makes $5 million available to cope with the COVID pandemic's impact on elections.
Both branches still need to take final votes on that legislation (H 4853) to get it to Gov. Charlie Baker. The House is in session next on Wednesday -- the deadline in the law for Galvin to mail the applications to all voters -- and the Senate returns on Thursday, the earliest that the bill could land on Baker's desk.