BOSTON (AP) – The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday designed to expand voter access and address COVID-19 safety concerns for all remaining 2020 elections, including the Sept. 1 state primary and Nov. 3 general election.

For the first time in Massachusetts history, the bill would give all eligible residents the opportunity to vote early in the primary and general election, allow residents to vote-by-mail, and expand absentee ballot access.

Democratic Senate President Karen Spilka said the legislation will let residents safely exercise their right to vote during the pandemic.

The bill would also let cities and towns consolidate polling places and eliminate check-out tables, allowing for fewer poll workers. It also would expand who is eligible to serve as a poll worker, given that many volunteers are seniors who may feel less comfortable working during the pandemic.

The Senate bill must now be reconciled with the Massachusetts House.

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