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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Voter overload

What if they held an election and nobody came?

Regular readers know I am a political junkie. But like many others, non-junkies included, I have been somewhat distracted by the Marathon bombing and its aftermath. My usual laser-like focus on politics and its nuances has been elsewhere, reflecting on the damage to human lives and Boston's mental health caused by the horrific events of April 15.

So imagine what the average person, inundated by US Senate elections since the death of Ted Kennedy nearly four years ago, must be feeling at the prospect of casting yet another ballot on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin has the answer in the level of interest in absentee ballots:
“These are abysmal numbers,’’ said Secretary of State William F. Galvin, citing the fact that applications are running about 25 percent the level in the primary for the 2010 special election. “It is depressing to see. There seems to be no momentum to the election.”
Frank Phillips details the litany of plagues the candidates in both primaries have faced in trying to capture voter attention. Some have tried harder to cut through the noise -- Steve Lynch's obnoxious attempt to take advantage of the tragedy in a TV commercial and the robo-calls in his name to mention two -- but the other four candidates have sought to plug along.

While snowstorms and the a crowded Boston mayoral field should have no impact on a primary election, the Marathon bombing is another matter entirely. The rogue actions of two misguided brothers should not derail democracy.

After all, that's what they were trying to do.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our statewide office special election law is broken.

Statewide office special elections should occur on Election Day to maximize participation in choosing statewide leaders.

Maximizing participation should be the primary goal of special elections not moving as quickly as possible to do it as we already have provisions to fill vacancies temporarily by appointment.

Instead we have a system that creates an abbreviated primary and abbreviated campaign and an unique special election day plucked off the calendar that works for politicians because they can roll the dice without the usual risk of forgoing their current office to run for the bigger/better one, and becuase turnout will be comparatively lower.

Our special election law is another example where elected officials put their interests ahead of the electorate. It's the worst for of entitlement, entitlement derived from the abuse of gov't power by putting career interests ahead of democratic (small d) values.

April 28, 2013 7:39 AM  

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