Liberal Legislators

Democrat Falmouth Rep.: Let’s Fine Non-Voters


by Chip Ford
Executive Director
Citizens for Limited Taxation

“Where else but Massachusetts is everything that is not forbidden by law made mandatory?” asked Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “Voting is a right, therefore not voting is a right as well if that is someone’s choice.”

I commented on HD-237, state Representative Dylan Fernandes’ (D-Falmouth) bill titled “An Act Making Voting Obligatory and Increasing Turnout In Elections” at the request of Beacon Hill Roll Call, which described it as follows:

“This proposal would require eligible voters to cast a ballot in any November General Election or face a fine of $15 that would be added to the non-voter’s state tax liability for each election missed.”

Massachusetts is one of the thirteen original colonies, eventually becoming the sixth state to ratify the new U.S. Constitution, but only after securing the promise of a specific bill of rights. Massachusetts long ago proudly boasted of being “the cradle of liberty,” was the home of the Sons of Liberty, the site of the Boston Tea Party, and was where “the shot heard ’round the world” was fired that launched the American Revolution which established a new nation.

“Where else but Massachusetts is everything that is not forbidden by law made mandatory?” China, North Korea, Iran, or under some other totalitarian regime’s jackboot come to mind.

How far the Bay State has fallen — the direct consequence of a year-round “full-time” Legislature with far too much idle time for far too many legislators to waste. Too many of them live to legislate, to impose structure and control — theirs.

Thanks to more legislators allegedly seeking to improve that which has been traditionally successful since the nation’s founding, the Legislature now wants to make “temporary” emergency mail-in voting, intended to get us through the Wuhan Chinese Virus, permanent even after the pandemic is defeated. “Never let a good crisis go to waste!” According to a State House News Service report (“Election Reforms Poised to Extend Through Spring; Stage Set for Debate on Permanent Mail-In Voting”):

“Both branches of the Massachusetts Legislature have now approved a three-month extension of pandemic-inspired voting reforms, setting the stage for a future debate over whether to keep the changes in place permanently beyond the public health crisis.

Passed unanimously by the Senate, the bill (H.73) permits no-excuse mail-in voting for any municipal or special state election held before June 30 and allows cities and towns to hold in-person early voting periods ahead of those elections. It also gives municipalities added flexibility if they choose to reschedule this spring’s local elections or caucuses…”

[Secretary of State William Galvin] and lawmakers have put forward plans that would make vote-by-mail a permanent feature in elections, including bills that would also authorize voters to register and then cast a ballot on the same day.

One of the bills, filed by Rep. John Lawn and Sen. Cindy Creem, has almost 90 cosponsors, according to Common Cause Massachusetts Executive Director Geoff Foster, who said that after the Legislature’s action to expand mail-in and early voting through the spring, it is now “time to look ahead towards the fall municipal elections and to making these popular reforms permanent.”

Speaker Ronald Mariano said in February that the House “looks forward to making vote by mail a permanent way for residents to exercise their right to vote during and beyond the pandemic,” and House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz said last month there is a “large appetite” for making mail-in voting permanent.”

Let’s see if I’ve got this right. They want to switch voting to all mail-in — then they want to fine you if you don’t vote. Why doesn’t someone just propose that they’ll simply vote for you, saving the state the cost for mailing out ballots to everyone and his brother and you the cost of a penalty fee for not returning it?

How about if we all just show up on Election Day and cast our ballots (or not) as we’ve always done since the birth of the commonwealth? No further legislation required.

Editor’s Note:
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