Friday, December 23, 2005

Galvin Enumerates

Following yesterday's op-ed by Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate, John Bonifaz, the current Secretary Bill Galvin hopped on his keyboard to defend his own procedures. His letter in today's Globe, in its entirety, reads:

Galvin investigated petition

December 23, 2005

I AM writing to correct false information in the column ''Fraud taints antigay measure" (op ed, Dec. 22) relating to the pending initiative petition on marriage rights.

The author falsely claims that I did not investigate accusations that some voters were misled into signing the marriage petition believing that it was a petition relating to the sale of wine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have vigorously investigated these allegations. A comparison, initiated by me of certified signatures appearing on both petitions, revealed that of the 123,356 signatures filed in support of the marriage petition only 14,288 appear on both petitions, leaving 109,068 signatures when only 65,825 signatures were needed.

Fairness, honesty, and accuracy in counting are critical in the conduct of elections. Although I personally oppose banning gay marriage because I have seen no adverse effect from it on society, I must protect the rights of voters to petition, even if I disagree with them.

WILLIAM F. GALVIN, Secretary of State Commonwealth of Massachusetts
While we had one anonymous naysayer on yesterday's post, we hold that the issue is not that we need a suddenly liberal light in the Secretary's office (and head). The bad guys played by the rules.

What should be plain includes:
  • This is a hateful and immoral initiative effort.
  • AG Tom Reilly had several chances and excellent legal reasons to forbid gathering signatures for it. He did not and appears both clueless and gutless.
  • The initiative process is badly used and abused by commercial and political special interests to the detriment of the commonwealth.
  • We need real reform now, so that we can return the initiative to its original, democratic purpose as a check on legislators run amok and voting agog.
  • We all need to check the signatures at Knowthyneighbor, so that legislators and the AG can measure the final extent of the fraud.
The Forces of Odium got their signatures. They played the game by its current rules. They will get their one or maybe two votes before the General Court in efforts to put this spiteful amendment before the voters in 2008.

We need to work to see that they don't even get that 25% of the 200 members of the General Court. That's a very small percentage. You could probably get a quarter of them to vote make straw boaters the official hat of Massachusetts. Legislators need to know that they should not associate themselves with this loser, losing effort.

Meanwhile, write your local paper, visit your legislators, and tell them that ballot initiatives need serious reform in the next session. They'll have this nasty example right before them as a reminder.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Galvin's letter is revealing for what it does not say. Mr. Galvin claims that he "vigorously investigated" the allegations of fraud in the signature-gathering process with respect to the anti-gay marriage ballot measure. He then goes on to state that, through a "comparison" between the anti-gay marriage measure and the petition relating to the sale of wine, he found that 14,288 signatures appeared on both petitions, "leaving 109,068 signatures..."
Yet, he does not reveal that he certified all of the 123,356 signatures filed in support of the anti-gay marriage petition. Why did he certify all of the signatures presented in the face of these findings? And why did he not publicly reveal the results of his investigation prior to announcing the certification? If Mr. Galvin suspected fraud with 14,000 plus signatures, then he should not have certified those signatures and he should have announced why he was not doing so. Beyond that, is it really a "vigorous" investigation to simply do this comparison? I argue (as I did in yesterday's Globe op-ed) that such an investigation should include a survey of a random sampling of those who signed the petition to ensure that the signatures presented related to legitimate public support for the petition. Mr. Galvin chose not to do that. The cloud of impropriety over this petition remains.

John Bonifaz

massmarrier said...

Thanks for weighing in, Mr. B. I wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence.

This will go down most certainly as a dirty, sneaky effort to put an odious vote before our citizens.

I like what you have in your voters' bill of rights. I hope you come out for reforming this messy process to keep groups from gaming the process.

This petition stinks.