MassVOTE Calls for Postponement of 3/31 Special Primary Elections in Light of COVID-19 Outbreak
The coronavirus pandemic is hitting all of us hard. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are fighting on the frontlines of the virus virtually non-stop. Employees across all sectors question how they will make the ensuing months’ rent or mortgage payments. To the people of Massachusetts, please know we are with you, working through this crisis day by day.
As noted in our previous statement, we remain dedicated to fulfilling our mission. Promoting voting rights and voter education, especially amongst underrepresented communities, is key to ensuring our democracy remains robust during this uncertain, anxious time.
To that end, we support the efforts made by Senate President Spilka, House Speaker DeLeo, and town and city clerks to postpone the four special state primary elections set to take place on March 31st. We applaud their willingness to postpone these special elections given the pressing, unprecedented circumstances we are facing. It will undoubtedly take a little time to put in place the measures necessary to ensure that everyone who wants to vote has the opportunity to do so. Holding the special elections on March 31st could very well put the health of poll workers and voters at a higher risk.
The four districts holding special elections are the:
Third Bristol Representative District
Thirty-Seventh Middlesex Representative District
Second Hampden & Hampshire Senatorial District
Plymouth & Barnstable Senatorial District
Postponing, even for a few weeks, would allow municipalities time to better adapt to the public health crisis, and provide voters the opportunity to adjust to their new daily lives. This would ultimately create a more safe and secure electoral environment, while fostering circumstances for higher voter turnout.
MassVOTE does not take this stance lightly. We consider the circumstances around each election individually, and this by no means reflects our stance on the September MA State Primary or November General Election.
We applaud a number of steps that have already been taken to ease burdens placed on voters, but this is not enough. We urge the Commonwealth to move the March 31 special state primary elections to a later date, serving the interests of voters, poll workers, and election officials in this time of crisis.
Cheryl Clyburn Crawford
Executive Director, MassVOTE