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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Bureaucratic Shoulder Shrug

For John, BLUFIn a time when Restaurants and Bars are closed, except for "pickup", one would think the Office of the Secretary of State would be all in for helping out Town and City/Ward Committees have time after the self-isolation period is over to do the job of organizing the Committees.  But one would be wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Each city, ward and town committee shall within ten days after the thirtieth day next following the election of its members, meet and organize by the choice of a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and such other officers as it may decide to elect; provided that members of said committee elected in nineteen hundred and seventy-six shall meet and organize within ten days after May fifteenth, nineteen hundred and seventy-six. At such meeting a ward or town committee may add to its elected members; provided, that by so doing the total number of members shall not be made to exceed the number determined under section nine.
It goes on, but the above is the key passage.  And the date is "within ten days after the thirtieth day next following the election," which was 3 March.  I am so-so with arithmetic, but I make it to be between 2 and 12 April.

I called down to the Elections folks on Beacon Hill: Secretary of the Commonwealth
Elections Division
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, Room 1705
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2828

And I posed the question, given that the Law says we have to organize our Political Party Committees for our Wards here in Lowell in about three weeks and we are in the middle of a State of Emergency declared by the Governor, due to the COVID-19 Virus (aka Coronavirus), can we get the deadline pushed out a while?

I was told that the deadline is in the law and I should contact my State Committee for help.


For Heaven's sake, there are states cancelling primary elections (in the case of Ohio, the Governor bypassing a court ruling) and the Secretary of State, William Francis Galvin, is unable to do anything to buy us some time?  Are his powers so weak under the Governor's Declaration of Emergency?  Or does he just not care?

This is definitely UNSAT.

Yes, I will find a workaround. Regards  —  Cliff

  One would think that this could have been more clearly written, but I guess with the big bucks the legislators get they need to do things in a fancy pants sort of way.  By the way, our State Committeeman thinks it is between March 31 and April 9, based on a different reading of "thirtieth day".  So, I called back down to the SecState's Election Office and they gave me the "salute" and told me to contact the Party.  But, pressed, the person went with the 2 to 12 April dates I came up with.  One is tempted to key the mic and call out Falcon Code 104.  But one wouldn't, because it is NSFW.

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