Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Amendment's Voter Fraud Issues and Bonifaz

Bonifaz could have just earned a friend in me today, because he highlighted an essential point that I've been saying over and over again.

The anti-gay marriage amendment is surrounded by allegations of fraud and there's been nothing to convince me that a serious investigation has been done. Search through my archives on gay marriage and marriage equality and I have lots of links to stories about it, including a link to a video capturing the fraud in action. I'd post links to them right now, but a bad thunderstorm (with hail!) is going through and electricity is fading in and out (as well as my internet connection).

But here's some of what Bonifaz has to say - and it seems pretty reasonable to me.

John Bonifaz, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, today issued this statement on the upcoming Constitutional Convention debate on the anti-gay marriage amendment:

The proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment remains under a cloud of fraud. Prior to holding any vote on the amendment, the legislature should fully investigate whether the amendment is, in fact, properly before it or whether it has arrived there via illegal conduct.

Within days after the signature-gathering began for this ballot measure, allegations surfaced throughout the state that signature collectors were using bait-and-switch tactics to deceive people into signing the petitions. MassEquality, a coalition defending equal marriage rights for same sex couples in Massachusetts, fielded numerous complaints of signature collectors who asked people to sign a petition to allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores, and instead collected the actual signatures on the anti-gay marriage form. Others reported signing a petition to ban greyhound racing and then discovered their names appearing in support of the anti-gay marriage amendment.

“Article 48 of our state constitution does not guarantee that a proposed constitutional amendment may proceed to a vote before the legislature if the signatures were gathered for the measure in a fraudulent manner.

“Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin failed to conduct any comprehensive investigation of these fraud charges. To the contrary, he certified all of the signatures presented for the anti-gay ballot measure despite acknowledging that thousands of those signatures matched the signatures presented for the measure related to the sale of beer and wine.

Emphasis mine.

Since the recent SJC ruling, I've recently swung my stance on the issue in favor of voting now (and backing David's new blog, though I don't support calling the Phoenix's editorial disgraceful: pre-SJC decision, the Phoenix was in the right).

IF the Legislature decides to hold off on a vote on the amendment in order to fully investigate the fraud surrounding it, I would be supportive. If anything, I would hope even the people in favor of the amendment would want an investigation. After all, voter fraud *was* committed. The only question is just how bad was it - and voters deserve to know.

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