His call is for Secretary William Galvin:
- To withhold certification of the signatures
- Do not take town and city clerks’ certifications
- Contact individual signers to see if their names should be on the petition
Certainly, this petition process is driven by odium and spite. As assuredly, the paid and volunteer signature gathers coerced, badgered and tricked some into signing. Disgracefully, our area RC Bishops and Archbishop politicized their religious services to aid the ill-willed reactionaries driving this initiative.
And yet, Bonifaz is clearly playing cheap politics here and not doing a good job.
We may well endorse him eventually. His accomplishments at and credentials from the National Voting Rights Institute are very promising. Now, he has to show that he can do the right thing for
Quite simply, it is the process, not this single petition, at fault here. Bonifaz has opened himself up to accurate criticism that he does not understand the law or process. He clearly wants to raise his profile in campaigning for the office, but this is a clumsy way to pop out of the trenches.
The town and city clerks have the responsibility to certify their local signatures or disqualify them. The Secretary may not second-guess them, except in those cases where voters notify his office about specific fraud.
The AG could have and should have prevented the signature drive. He chose not to and may lose a court battle over this.
That written, we contend that this system is broken. The Secretary, Attorney General, Governor and General Court should get the analysis and fixes underway.
Let’s start with:
- Ballot initiatives have a noble purpose of acting as a check on terrible legislation.
- Narrow political and business interests have usurped the process.
- Penalties for fraud in the process are very low.
- Numbers of signers and legislators required for a ballot are far too few.
- Hired-gun signature gathers put the lie to citizen participation.
- Adhere to the laws that say initiatives cannot overrule a court decision and cannot follow similar ones within three years.
- Town and city clerks can be overwhelmed and do a poor job when flooded with petitions.
- There is no mechanism for verification, even with fraud is provable, as in this case.
A decent analysis can turn up others and provide a list of remedies to consider. Let’s get this in the works before we end up in ballot hell, like