Urges Senator Tarr to Block Extension Until Hearing is Scheduled
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance made the following statement today in response to the GOP letter sent to Speaker Ron Mariano from every Republican lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Elections in which they urge the Speaker and legislative leaders to schedule a hearing on the merits and flaws associated with mail in voting before any extension is given or the program is made permanent. Today’s letter followed a similar theme from a letter released in December, calling on Secretary Bill Galvin to produce some answers to outstanding questions associated with the new voting system. Today’s letter was signed by state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster), state Representatives Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick), Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), and Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk).
“Secretary Galvin and municipal clerks should have an opportunity to be heard and lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Elections should be allowed to do their job,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson of Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.
On Monday, during an informal House session, an extension of vote by mail was passed without a roll call vote, any objection from the Speaker’s office or Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones. While the original mail in voting legislation was set to expire this March, the new bill moves that deadline back to June. Such a major policy should never be left to informal sessions. A similar controversial tax increase passed during a 2018 informal session right before Christmas in which the state adopted a new tax to AirBnb services.
“These Republican lawmakers on the important Joint Committee on Elections were part of the legislative body that crafted the temporary mail-in voting system and now they want to continue their important work they were elected to do by asking Secretary Galvin and municipal clerks some basic follow up questions. This is something that should have broad support in the legislature, and they should be praised for wanting to do their job with the public’s input and in a transparent manner,” noted Craney.
“Informal sessions are becoming an avenue for controversial policies to be passed without a legislative vote or oversight and yesterday’s passage of an extension of mail in voting is further proof of that new trend. As we saw with the passage of the controversial Airbnb tax passed in a similar manner, it’s unfortunate that Minority Leader Brad Jones once again didn’t even bother to object and essentially stop the opaque process. Now it is the responsibility of Senate Republican Minority Leader Bruce Tarr to protect the process and stop any extension until the Joint Committee on Elections can hold a hearing,” continued Craney.
“Massachusetts is better served when Senate and House Republicans are unified in their desire to see the legislative process more transparent as the Republicans on the Joint Committee on Elections are trying to do,” concluded Craney.