Our Voter Integrity Initiative

Earlier this month we gave our members a sneak peak of the latest project in the works here at MassFiscal—our Voter Integrity Initiative.

The September 4th, 2018 State Primary marked one of the highest voter turnouts for a Primary election since the mid-2000s. All told, over 1,000,000 people took the time out of their busy day to get to the polls and cast their votes.

As part of our Voter Integrity Initiative, we picked eight municipalities and mailed first-class letters to primary voters residing there, thanking them for participating in the election. A first-class stamp guarantees a return to our office on any letter that is deemed undeliverable. If any letters are returned, that raises a major red flag. People are supposed to live at the address where they are registered to vote, and if they cannot receive letters at that address it is an indication that something could possibly be awry. Here are the results:

 

TOWN

RETURNS

VOTED

%

FTE

Lawrence

284

       10,861

2.61%

33

Haverhill

92

          9,183

1.00%

23

Brockton

61

          6,805

0.90%

17

Framingham

36

          8,900

0.40%

6

Methuen

27

          7,145

0.38%

12

Lowell

54

       13,727

0.39%

29

Milford

9

          2,678

0.34%

3

Franklin

8

          3,947

0.20%

1

         

TOTALS

571

       63,246

0.90%

124

 

Of the 63,246 letters that were mailed, 571 were returned to our office with more coming in each day. As you may know, not all voters update their address with the United State Postal Service (USPS). For the voters who do, they have 12 months of mail forwarding as part of their service. State law requires that once a voter moves, they have six months to re-register with their updated address. Although we received hundreds of letters back, which all indicate serious problems with their voter registration, 124 letters returned to MassFiscal indicated that the “forwarding time expired (FTE)”. This means the voter has not been with that address for over 12 months yet still voted in the September primary. 

 

Even more troubling, however, is the sizable rate of return for the City of Lawrence. 2.61% of registered voters were unable to be contacted through the postal service at their registered addresses. This number is almost triple the rate of return of other similarly sized cities.

With a general election less than two weeks away, the need to protect our electoral process is now more critical than ever. To that end, we’ve notified Massachusetts’s chief elections official, Secretary of State William Galvin, about the discrepancies and pledged to do whatever we can to help him ensure the integrity of the election. You can find that letter here.

We’ll let you know when we hear back.  


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