Secretary of the Commonwealth Looking for Comments and Suggestions

Tell Galvin that BMG sent you. ;-) - promoted by david

Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin is looking for Election Day Comments, Suggestions and Questions. This particular request from the Secretary is focused on actual activity around the 2012 election and existing laws. Did you experience first hand any issues with voter intimidation? Were there difficulties with obtaining absentee ballots? Did anyone experience issues with provisional ballots? Did people experience issues with poll checking? Were you required to sit in a position where you could not hear the precinct workers? One issue that was mentioned to me was offices closed on Friday afternoon before election day, limiting people who wanted to vote absentee. The Secretary would very much like to hear from people now, while events and concerns are fresh in people’s minds. A discussion here would be great. More importantly, send an e-mail with your comments and suggestions to ElectionsSuggestions@sec.state.ma.us .

This particular “suggestion box” is explicitly for suggestions and concerns around the actual process this year. I, and many others, favor changing the restrictions on the reasons for absentee voting, but that would involve a change to the state constitution.

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12 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. More of a city thing than a state thing

    but here in Newton we had some voters’ polling places change. We still got 78% turnout but there were some folks who didn’t budget a lot of time for voting and this was a problem for them.

    We get automated calls here if garbage pickup is pushed back a day due to holiday or weather (as happened with Sandy two weeks ago). It would be nice if they called voters, or sent mailers, to let them know their polling place had changed.

    • I can't speak to this situation

      But since the local elections are under the oversight of the Secretary, this is the kind of information that he is interested in. My recollection is that mailers are sent. But if there is a phone system in place, that might be more effective. I know that when there have been changes in polling places we make a big point of it when making GOTV call.s It allows the caller to stress that you are providing information. It becomes more of a service than an interruption.

  2. Saw this comment in my e-mail

    This person volunteered as an observer..

    There were lots of first time voters, many of which did not know English well. There was a shortage of translators who had trouble explaining the questions to these voters. The marijuana question was easy to explain but the other two were difficult.

    • I wish they would make ballot questions available in other languages

      I realize that there’s a limit to how many translations you can do.

      The priority list, based on number of speakers, would be: Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French, KreyĆ²l, Italian, Vietnamese, Russian, Greek, Cambodian, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Japanese, Albanian, Yoruba, Tamil, Turkish, Hebrew, Tagalog, Persian, Bantu, Bengali, Amharic and Armenian.

      I would do the following:
      - Create translations in as many languages as possible.
      - Include with the state mailing a page with the following sentence in all of those languages: “This information is also available in please return this form to and we will mail you a copy or visit .”
      - At polling places where there are a reasonable number of voters who speak those languages have copies of the voter information available in said language.

  3. Galvin is Really Really Bad

    Bill Galvin is doing a terrible job with our elections. He has rigidly opposed any type of early voting. He also opposed pre-registration of 17 year-olds. And, he opposed any audits of the vote counting machines.

    Those long lines were Galvin’s fault.

    • Yet, we don't have 5 hour lines to vote in Massachusetts.

      And the Department of Justice isn’t all over us in every town, like other states.

      We don’t have butterfly ballots or insanley confusing ballots like Florida.

      We’re not STILL counting ballots like Arizona or other states.

      Our results aren’t in question like Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2008. Or Arizona in 2012.

      Yeah, I’d like expanded early voting, but when all is said and done, Galvin runs a pretty good ship.

      Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the pretty damn good.

      • I'm not proud of merely not sucking eggs

        It’s true, there are examples of election horrorshow, and few of them include Massachusetts recently (although IIRC the DOJ got involved with Boston somewhat recently).

        Still, we need to lead. We need to move the Overton window, so that Americans as a whole get more and more disgusted with the election horrorshow, and *demand* that the problems get fixed there. That Florida et al can’t get their act together isn’t just a sideshow, it damages our democracy — yours and mine, as citizens of Massachusetts. We can’t force Florida to fix Florida, but we can be an example of how to do things right, not merely how to be mediocre.

      • Not Quite

        We have no way of knowing if our elections should be contested. It’s extremely difficult to get a re-count, and there has never been any audit of the vote counting machines. And, Galvin has been very strong in his opposition to any type of election reform or improvement.

        Just because our lines are not as bad some other states, doesn’t mean that we have a good system here.

    • Perhaps...

      Bill Galvin is doing a terrible job with our elections. He has rigidly opposed any type of early voting. He also opposed pre-registration of 17 year-olds. And, he opposed any audits of the vote counting machines.

      … you can go to the link provided above and suggest that Bill Galvin explain himself with respect to your above listed, entirely vallid, complaints.

  4. Biggest complaint I heard in Framingham was parking

    especially at polling places that serve more than 1 precinct. Not an issue when I voted, but apparently at peak hours it was a problem. Don’t think that’s a Secretary of State issue, though.

  5. DMV registrations not confirmed at polling place

    2 teens that I know of, and 2 we were told about by a MPD officer I knew at the polls, had registered to vote at the Lawrence DMV – and were not on the list at Methuen’s 11th Precinct. I sent the parents of the two we know the link provided above, thanks.

    • That's been a long standing problem

      We always tell people who registered at the RMV, but aren’t listed, to vote provisional ballots. They usually end up being counted.

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Fri 28 Nov 1:00 PM