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CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
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WOBURN — While candidates from both parties remain in limbo as a result of Beacon Hill’s apparent unwillingness to address signature-collection thresholds amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons has been busy trying to find simpler solutions that don’t require legislative approval.
On Thursday, Lyons announced that after reaching out to Secretary of State William Galvin, the office has agreed to allow individuals to print from home printer-friendly 8.5-inch by 11-inch copies of nomination forms.
To satisfy state law, individuals must print the forms double-sided, however.
State law stipulates that forms cannot “be larger than eight and one-half inches by fourteen inches,” but allows for all smaller sizes.
The law specifies that individuals cannot “be prohibited from making exact copies of such blanks provided by the secretary of state for the purpose of collecting signatures for such nominations, nor shall any such copies be rejected for certification or submittal to the secretary of state.”
“It’s a simple move that helps those candidates without insider connections and the financial advantages that come with being a longtime incumbent like a Speaker (Robert) DeLeo,” Lyons said. “I’m grateful that Secretary Galvin agreed to work with us on this.
“At the same time however I’m confused as to why Democratic leadership still refuses to act,” Lyons added.
Lyons then identified several past situations that prompted swift action from DeLeo:
“When Speaker Deleo wanted to change the rules to extend his ability to be speaker, and broke his promise to the public to lengthen his term, he did so in a single day. When Speaker DeLeo wanted legislative pay raises, he ordered a vote without a public hearing, and got what he wanted just two days after he filed his bill. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against a law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature that violated First Amendment protections to pro-life activists on public property, it only took DeLeo three days to announce Democrat leadership was working on crafting a new version of the unconstitutional law.”
Legislation that would reduce the state’s signature threshold by two-thirds, filed March 25, still languishes in the House. The April 28 deadline for state candidates and the May 5 deadline for federal candidates still remain in effect.
“Incumbents like DeLeo already have established lists of voters who have signed nomination papers for them in the past, not to mention existing campaign accounts that can easily pay for mailings and whatnot,” Lyons said. “Challengers don’t have that luxury, and in a Legislature dominated by one party, it’s pretty easy to see why the Democrats are refusing to address this potentially dangerous situation.”
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