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News :: Labor : Politics
Final petition signatures submitted for "cross endorsement" initiative
23 Jun 2006
Ballot Freedom campaign submits final petition signatures qualifying "cross endorsement" initiative for Nov. 2006 ballot. Proposed change would give voters more choices in elections, stronger voice in politics.
BOSTON - Leaders of an initiative campaign to give citizens more election choices and a stronger voice at the polls turned in petitions with over 20,000 signatures from registered voters to local city and town election officials across the state today. The signatures were collected by the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign - a coalition of community and labor organizations that seeks to lift the state's ban on cross endorsement voting, which allows political parties to form ballot coalitions backing the same candidate. After successfully submitting over 110,000 signatures last November, the campaign was required to submit 10,971 qualified signatures by today to put its measure on the statewide ballot this November.

Cross endorsement gives voters an opportunity to express support for the platform or values of a minor party without "spoiling" or wasting their vote on a candidate who has no chance of winning. Allowing candidates to run for office with the support of more than one political party would give voters new opportunities to hold their elected officials accountable. Politicians can count the votes they receive on the minor party's ballot line and recognize the significance of that party's issues or platform in their election's outcome.

"For too long the major parties in this state have taken people of color for granted," said Angie Wilkerson, a board member of the Boston chapter of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and member of the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign's steering committee. "By bringing back the cross-endorsement, like-minded voters can build coalitions with people who share their values and have more impact in elections and policy making."

Cross endorsement voting was legal in Massachusetts until 1912, when the legislature banned it. Today it is still commonly used in New York and Connecticut and is legal in seven states.

"Fewer people are voting today than ever before because they feel left out by a system that responds more to big money than regular people," said Juan Leyton, Executive Director of City Life/Vida Urbana. "If our Ballot Freedom initiative passes, it will give voters a chance to send a stronger message to politicians."

"With as many as two-thirds of legislative elections going uncontested, people are losing faith in our democracy and turnout is declining," said Rand Wilson, a union organizer for the Communications Workers of America, one of more than 30 labor and community organizations backing the election reform. "With the power of cross-endorsement, average citizens can more effectively bring issues like affordable health care, good full time jobs and support for public education into the electoral arena."
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