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by Lonnie Brennan
The Town of Danvers, Mass. slow-walked the counting of write-in ballots this primary election. Indeed, Republican candidate, Mike Bean, stood close and eager to get the results two days after the primary. Then, to his surprise, the counters finally announced his numbers, but, they also informed him of something else: he had to sprint to Boston.
That’s right, Bean was given less than 90 minutes to find a way to get into Boston find parking, walk the distance, go through security, and get his way up the elevators and into the state’s campaign office, Needless to say, he missed the surprise deadline.
And surprise it was, because until THIS year, write-in candidates had until 13 days after the election, to file their official acceptance of the nomination with the state’s campaign office, according to Mass. Gen. Laws. But this year, Democrats slid in a special provision for the primary, giving candidates only two days. They did, however, notify write-in candidates who had filed paperwork of intent with the state to “pre” accept their pending nomination. Bean didn’t get that notice, as he had not put his name in the race until just a few days before the election.
“He decided the Friday before the election that he should run and give voters a choice,” Republican State Committeeman Richard Baker explained. “Mike worked hard through the weekend to get his name out and the response was great. He got on the ballot, or so he was told, but [Secretary of State] Galvin said no.”
Baker went on to detail how there is apparently a two-rule system: one set of rules for Democrats, another for Republicans, as he cited multiple cases this year where Democrats were allowed to be on the ballot, despite failing the paperwork requirements. This, of course, included Cape Cod Senator Susan Moran who failed to properly complete her paperwork. She was challenged, but the court ruling said that the “intent” of the voters must be respected, so the Democrat got on the ballot.
“They changed things this year, and only for this year, and slide it in to a budget amendment, and are now using it to keep a Republican off the ballot, tell me, where is the intent of the voters in this instance,” Baker asked.
Bean will have his day in Salem Superior Court this week where Atty. Michael Walsh has written that the special law was unconstitutional (2 days instead of 13), that the intent of the voter is not being followed, and that giving a candidate only 45 hours after an election, which spans multiple cities, to collect numbers from counters who don’t give them to him until the final 90 minutes is something which sets an unreasonable bar for candidates and voters.