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Legislation addressing candidate signature gathering has sat stagnant for almost two weeks — just like Speaker DeLeo

CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
617-523-5005 ext. 245

WOBURN — After the Massachusetts Republican Party urged Secretary of State William F. Galvin to submit legislation to address the person-to-person signature gathering practice deemed dangerous during the current COVID-19 pandemic, both political parties still await action — any action — by Democratic leadership on Beacon Hill. 
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Democratic Party voted unanimously over the weekend to back a resolution directing House Speaker Robert DeLeo to advance legislation that significantly lowers the signature threshold

The proposal would waive two-thirds of the state’s signature-gathering requirements for candidates seeking state and federal public office. Candidates for local office only have a little more than three weeks left to submit signatures — 300 for state Senate candidates and 150 for House candidates.

Under current state law, candidates for U.S. Senate must collect at least 10,000 signatures, while candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives must collect at least 2,000. The deadline for federal office is May 5 — the day after several of the state’s social-distancing orders are slated to expire

The legislation addressing this situation, H. 4981, filed March 25, still remains stagnant. On Monday morning, House lawmakers met briefly but did not take up the bill, opting instead to leave for recess until at least Thursday.

“Two weeks ago emergency legislation addressing this exact problem landed right on Speaker DeLeo’s desk, only to be absolutely ignored,” Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said Monday. “I commend MassDems for calling on Democratic leadership to advance this commonsense legislation — but now I must ask Speaker DeLeo — what is your reason for the holdup?

“The state’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic has called for all residents to remain home, citing the dangers of community spread, yet candidates working to qualify for November’s general election must still collect hundreds if not thousands of signatures.” 

Last Wednesday, Lyons called on Galvin to submit his own legislation to address signature thresholds and deadlines. 

The party’s submitted letter to Galvin, attached below, has yet to generate a response.