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Radical leftists deploy “heckler’s veto” strategy in effort to shut down referendum signature collection drives

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July 14, 2022



CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
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WOBURN — Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said Thursday he’s noticed a common trend among leftist efforts to shut down the daily signature collection drives necessary to put the question of whether illegal immigrants should be entitled to receive state-issued driver’s licenses before voters in the form of a referendum.


“The leftists harassing our volunteers are deploying what’s known as a ‘heckler’s veto,’ which happens when one side throws a big enough tantrum and creates enough of a nuisance to prompt police or store managers to have to shut down the collection drive altogether,” Lyons said. “That’s what’s been happening in front of supermarkets across Massachusetts on a daily basis.”


Lyons said this exact scenario recently played out at a Tewksbury Market Basket where he was collecting signatures. A left-wing activist later identified by police as Wes McEnany (right) was part of a group of individuals who, according to Lyons, caused enough of a disturbance to prompt police to order both sides to leave the premises.

McEnany has previously advocated on social media in favor of “defund(ing) the police and “kick(ing) cops out of unions.”


Similar incidents have been reported at shopping centers in Hudson, Chelmsford, and Waltham. Lyons earlier this week issued an advisory to local Republican committee leaders requesting that volunteers refrain from engaging with protesters, and if necessary, call police to file formal complaints


On Thursday, MassGOP’s legal counsel distributed a memo to Market Basket’s upper management describing the situation, noting that state law protects the rights of volunteers to collect signatures at high-traffic public shopping areas, as long as they do not interfere with business.


“Our volunteers have been peacefully collecting signatures but when agitators begin bothering customers and causing a commotion, it creates problems for the businesses,” Lyons said. “For those unaware, it is an outright violation of state civil rights laws to interfere with individuals collecting signatures for a referendum.

“Leftists think that if they throw a big enough tantrum, they can shut us down. This has been their strategy since day one.”


Lyons added that the central goal for signature collectors is for Massachusetts voters to decide whether a partisan law passed by solely by Democrats to reward illegal immigrants with the privilege of securing a state driver’s license should remain on the books.


“If the Democrats and their shopping center agitators think this is such a great law, what could they possibly be worried about?,” Lyons said. “We want the people to be the ones who decide this, and not elitist Democrats who think they know better than the voters.”