A Ballot Committee of
Citizens for Limited Taxation & Government
PO Box 408 * Peabody, MA 01960
Phone:(617) 248-0022 /(978) 538-3900 E-Mail:
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*** Promise Update ***
Friday, January 9, 1998

January 9, 1998
Contact: Barbara Anderson (617) 248-0022
Re: Teachers Union assault on the initiative process

A Promise to Keep: 5% has received, as required, a list of the objections made to its signatures by the Massachusetts Teachers Association. The teachers have objected to the voters' use of initials, printed names, nicknames, and the omission of a "Jr." after the surname.

Chapter 55, Section 3; Standards of the Election Laws, states:

(3) In general, a name is "signed substantially as registered" if it can reasonably be determined to be that of a registered voter. For example, registrars shall certify names in which:

(a) A middle initial is inserted or omitted.

(b) A common or known nickname is used.

(c) Two initials are used with a surname.

(d) One initial is used with a surname, if no other registered voter with that initial lives at the indicated address.

(e) "Jr." of "Sr." is inserted or omitted.

(f) Ditto marks are used to indicate a correct address.

(g) The name is printed.

So as you can see, these objections are frivolous, though not as frivolous as the hundreds of objections alledging that married people are forgers, just because their names appear near each other -- albeit with different handwriting -- on the petition.

The state Ballot Law Commission is charged with determining forgery and fraud -- eg., candidate committees copying names from a phone book. It is not supposed to be used to second-guess registrars' ability to read difficult handwriting or identify voters that many registrars have known all their lives.

It is possible that registrars, working with the new computer system that according to the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee study contains flawed data from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, may not have found all the voters who signed the petition, thereby causing them to certify fewer than the accurate number of legitimate signers. However, it is highly unlikely that the registrars found names that were not there!

We will challenge any attempt by the teachers union to deprive any registered voter of his or her right to be counted on this petition.

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