A state law effective January 1, 2020 created a new program for automatically registering eligible voters, known as Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and its purpose is to register voters automatically when applying for services at the RMV, MassHealth and Health Connector agencies. The agencies are required to collect and transmit the appropriate voter information to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Under the former way when you registered to vote or change your party at the RMV, an applicant would have to check “yes” to the voter registration question and then could pick a party of political designation. AVR changes this. Instead of being asked if you want to register and having to select “yes”, applicants will only see a box that allows you to opt-out of registering. Under AVR, at both the RMV and health agencies, if you do not opt-out, your transaction will be forwarded to the town/city clerk for processing. Under the way the AVR law was written, applicants are NOT offered the opportunity to pick a political party or designation. If you are registered in a political party, you will remain in that party because AVR does NOT recognize party affiliations. You will have to change your party online (you must hold a valid Massachusetts drivers license) at www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ or fill out a Change of Enrollment card available at town hall. Additionally, the AVR law as enacted, requires the notices you receive to be bilingual in English and Spanish.
Summary: You cannot change your political party with a RMV transaction; if you are registered to vote in a party, you will remain in that party. You can change your party online if you hold a valid MA drivers license at www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/. Notices will now be sent to you in both English and Spanish.
Please check your voter status and party affiliation (if any) before you come to vote at the March 3 Presidential Primary. You cannot register to vote or change your party on the annual street listing.