State House OKs Bill to Standardize Voter Registration

All college students living in Massachusetts will be able to vote in the next state and local elections if a new bill now before the state senate is passed.

The Uniform Voter Registration Procedures Bill which passed the State House of Representatives yesterday by a unanimous vote will establish a uniform procedure for voter registration in Massachusetts.

The bill is expected to pass the senate within a few weeks, according to Rep. John A. Businger, who introduced the measure.

"The bill makes it illegal to discriminate against students who want to vote here," Businger said yesterday. "It will insure the most important legal right a citizen has and that is the right to vote."

Only the Basics

Under the system of voter registration proposed by the new bill, a prospective voter has to fill out a form which asks only basic information such as his birthdate and current address. Present state laws are indefinite on requirements for voter registration.

"Members of the Cambridge Election Committee feel that if college students are allowed to vote here [the City] will become an administrative nightmare," David Sullivan, head of the Cambridge Committee for Voter Registration, said yesterday.

He said that many election officials here feel that students are outsiders. They argue that college students will be here only for four years, Sullivan said.

"But that argument doesn't carry much weight," Sullivan added, "because the average Cambridge citizen doesn't stay here longer than four years anyway."