State law requires that cities and towns determine the active voter list annually by gathering local census data and street listings. The process involves mailing a survey to residents at the beginning of the year. Voters who do not return the census are sent a reminder notice. Those who fail to respond to that second request are moved onto the inactive list.
Critics of the Massachusetts law for maintaining voter lists argue that requiring inactive voters to show ID violates the rights of voters because it subjects them to a separate and longer process that can discourage some from voting.
Toomey, the Haverhill clerk, said there are many ways to get back on the active list. Anyone who votes in any election, signs any nomination papers or petitions or changes their address or political party affiliation automatically has their voting status restored, she said.
North Andover: 2,187