In case you missed it, State Representative Vincent Pedone (D-Worcester) announced yesterday that he’s resigning to take a hack job with the Massachusetts State University System. This obviously means that there would be a special election, so the good people of Worcester wouldn’t go without representation for close to a year. If you thought that, you would be wrong.
Apparently Secretary of State William F. Galvin believes the relative unease the process of holding a special election would cause, trumps the rights of people to be represented in their government. From today’s Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
Secretary of State William F. Galvin said, “It will be almost impossible to hold a special election” now. The state has undergone redistricting. Not only has the 15th Worcester District been extensively redistricted, but even its individual ward and precinct lines have been redrawn. The courts have long ruled that a special election must be from the original district, Mr. Galvin said, and cities have already mailed directions to voters on where to vote for the March 6 presidential primary – which in many cases would be incorrect for a special election.
“That district no longer exists,” Mr. Galvin said.
There is a minimum 14-week wait from the date of a resignation until a special election can be held, he said. That means a new representative would conduct legislative business for less than three months before the Legislature recesses in July until the next session, the secretary of state said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Mr. Galvin said, but “if asked my opinion I’m going to recommend against holding a special election. Let every candidate run against each other in September for an open seat.”
Secretary Galvin, the district does exist. It is the same district that Vincent Pedone represented. Special elections are held to fill vacant seats and finish the current term. The obvious answer is that you hold an election based upon the pre-redistricting ward and precinct lines. It isn’t that hard. For example the Commonwealth through the redistricting process has split precincts in half for representation purposes. In some towns, people living in the same precinct would vote for the same State Representative, but a different State Senator.
Imagine if the Founders had decided that writing a Constitution was too hard and just decided not to. What if the Patriots who fought the Revolutionary War, had just decided that it was to hard to fight for taxation with representation?
That, of course, is the real rub. The fundamental idea that a people should not be taxed without representation, is the fundamental idea which birthed this great nation. Secretary Galvin, whom we’ve entrusted with running our elections, thinks that fundamental right can be suspended if it proves too difficult.