Yesterday, we learned that Secretary of State William F. Galvin believes that approximately 45,00 residents of Worcester should go without representation for close to a year. According to Galvin, this should happen because holding a special election in old districts, after new districts have been drawn could prove difficult.
Precedence, even in a Presidential election year, is not on the Secretary of State’s side. According to the 1992 Public Document 43 of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there were three seats filled via special election, in 1992. Four of those six elections happened, on or after, the date of the Presidential Primary election of that year. The primary was held on March 10, 1992.
The Second Worcester and Middlesex Senate district was filled by a special election held on March 10, 1992. The seat was won by Robert Antononi (D-Leominster). The special primary was held on February 11, 1992.
The First Bristol District was filled by a special election held on April 7, 1992. The seat was won by Barbara Hyland (R-Foxboro). The special primary was held on March 10, 1992.
The Third Hampshire District was filled by a special election on March 17, 1992. The seat was won by Ellen Story (D-Amherst). The special primary was held on February, 18, 1992.
If in 1992 cities and towns across the Commonwealth were able to hold special elections for old districts, even after redistricting. In addition they were even able to figure out holding them on the same day as Presidential elections which used new precinct lines, as the First Bristol district only included portions of multiple towns.
Secretary Galvin’s contention that Worcester residents should be denied representation, due to the difficulty of holding an election, is an affront to the basic ideals of our representative government. To compound matters, 45,000 residents of Belmont, Cambridge, and Arlington will find themselves in a similar situation, as their representative, William Brownsberger, is the only candidate who made the ballot for the January 10, 2012 special election to fill Steven Tolman’s seat. Galvin owes the people of both districts a better explanation as to why he thinks convenience trumps their basic right to representation.