Sunday, October 09, 2005

More Petition Bait and Switch

The South Shore newspapers carry more on the professional signature gatherers' tactics. In Brockton, supermarket petition mendicants have been getting some of their commissions through trickery.

With the abetting by the Roman Catholic hierarchy here, one would suppose lying to voters to flesh out the petitions should not be necessary. Of course, all but the most naive know that like so many ballot initiatives, this is not a people's drive in any manner. A special-interest group is paying $1 per signature.

Let us meditate briefly on the ethics of commission-only salesmen. Time's up.

In Brockton, for one example, Melissa Medairos signed a petition to permit beer and wine sales in supermarkets. Then the guy with the clipboard asked her to sign another underneath in case they lost the first one.

Now, she is kicking herself for not dislodging the sheet and seeing what it said. It turns out that she signed the petition to put the 2008 initiative on the ballot to rescind same-sex marriages.

In a hurry, pushing a laden cart, inspired by appeals to democracy (and saving an extra trip if she wanted a bottle of wine), she signed it.

The Elections Commission will strike her name from the list when it appears. That, of course, does not ensure that the many who were tricked and do not know it will find out in time to remedy the situation.

Medairos said, "I don't think anyone who is a registered voter or a taxpayer should be lied to." Perhaps she skips the politican ads and debates.

Regardless, she is not a gay activist, but she seems to reflect the attitude of most voters here that same-sex marriage is a right now. "I have a gay uncle and if he wants to marry a man, it doesn't affect my life," she said. "What people want to do is their own life."

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