Below is my public comment on the September Primary date. I suggest we all make public comments on this. Here is the link to the comment request. Currently the primary is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18th. It appears that Galvin looking to change the date to a Thursday. All comments are due January 2nd so time is ticking.
As we begin to plan for the state’s primary election in September, there has been much discussion about changing the voting day from Tuesday to Thursday to avoid voting on two major Jewish holidays–Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
I am not in favor of this proposed idea. Changing the election day to Thursday almost guarantees low voter turnout, and there is data to prove it. In 2012, the first time a primary was held on a Thursday, there were fewer voters than in 2008 when it was held on a Tuesday. In Boston, turnout in the 2008 primary was 14.01 percent, compared to 10.88 percent in 2012. This number was virtually unchanged in 2016 when the primary was again held on a Thursday. Shifting an election to a date certain to yield a low turnout amounts to an incumbent-protection plan and silences the voices of party activists and outsiders.
I propose we plan for the primaries to be held before the traditional September date. Doing so would allow for the primary winner to have more time to connect with voters prior to the general election in November.
All elections must be held on Tuesdays until we pass a law that does any of the following: sends everyone an absentee ballot with a deadline to return it; allows Saturday voting; or expands early voting to include all primaries. We should not silence the votes of Jewish people, and we should ensure constituents have some consistency when it comes to the voting process.
Let’s work together and come up with a primary date in the months leading up to September. Low voter turnout and inconsistency will be recurring issues if we continue to kick the can down the road and do not make the real change needed to guarantee all voices are heard in 2018.