BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts citizen and community groups who say they were denied voter registration opportunities through public assistance offices are suing the state.
The suit was filed in federal court Tuesday by a regional office of the NAACP, the group New England United for Justice and Bethzaida Delgado, a Massachusetts woman who said she was repeatedly denied voter registration services.
The suit alleges that Secretary of State William Galvin's office and the state Department of Transitional Assistance violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by failing to offer registration opportunities to the poor.
Under the act, state governments are required to allow voter registration for eligible individuals when they renew their licenses or apply for social services.
In their complaint, plaintiffs cited a DTA internal report suggesting about 94 percent of public assistance clients did not receive the services. They also said a majority of individuals receiving public assistance who were interviewed in preparation for the lawsuit said they were not offered opportunities to register to vote.
Alec Loftus, a state Health and Human Services spokesman, said in a statement that the agency is in the process of reviewing the complaint.
"Voting is one of the most important civic duties, and helping people comply is one of our top priorities," he said.
A spokesman for Galvin said the office does not comment on ongoing cases.