Sargent Signs Bill Easing Registration Of Student Voters

Governor Francis W. Sargent signed a bill Tuesday which will allow Massachusetts college and university students from out of state to vote in Massachusetts more easily.

The bill removes all voter registration requirements to show intent for future residency in the state, Rep. John A. Businger (D-Brookline) sponsor of the bill, said yesterday.

Uniform Affidavit

Under the new law, the prospective voter will simply fill out a uniform affidavit with information such as his birthdate and current address, Businger said.

The bill becomes effective June 1, 1974.


Previously, a citizen had to show intent to remain a resident of the state for one year, David E. Sullivan, president of the Cambridge Committee for Voter Registration said yesterday.

Lengthy Delays

As a result, registration of large numbers of students was blocked by lengthy questioning and delays, Sullivan said.

Businger said he did not know if the bill would have any effect on future Massachusetts elections. "Giving somebody the right to register doesn't mean he's going to do it," he said.

Effect on Politics

But Sullivan said the new bill could have a great effect on Cambridge politics. "There are 50,000 registered voters in Cambridge," he said, "and 20,000 college students of which only 1000 are currently registered.

Businger said he sponsored the bill because the old system created too many delays and inefficiencies. "Many people think this is radical or liberal but really it is just a matter of common sense," he said.

The only opposition to the bill came from the Cambridge Election Commission which charged that it would be an administrative nightmare, Sullivan said.