Federal immigration officials incorrectly told more than 400 new U.S. citizens in Massachusetts that they couldn’t vote in this year’s general election because the state’s registration deadline had passed before they took their citizenship oaths, according to a published report.
Denis Riordan, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Boston, acknowledged the error in a statement to GBH News.
Some agency officials presiding over naturalization ceremonies Monday and Tuesday informed newly sworn-in citizens that Massachusetts’ Oct. 24 voter registration deadline had already passed, so they would not be able to vote, he said. The agency has since confirmed that in Massachusetts, residents naturalized after that deadline may still register to vote up until 4 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Saturday, Oct. 24, is the last day to register to vote in Massachusetts. Today, you can register online up until 11:59 p.m.. or in person up until 8 p.m. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by Saturday.
The agency relied on the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, which does not mention the exception, Riordan said.
A spokesperson for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin confirmed that newly naturalized citizens can register as late as Monday.
Canadian-born Erika Constantine, who has lived in Massachusetts for nearly nearly two decades, raised the issue at her naturalization ceremony and alerted GBH News.
“Government officials need to do their duty to inform people correctly,” she said.