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News :: Labor : Politics
Ballot Freedom initiative to lift ban on party cross endorsements reaches signature goal
06 Dec 2005
Cross endorsement, if passed by voters in Nov. 2006 referendum, would give voters more choices and power at the polls.
BOSTON - Leaders of an initiative campaign to give citizens more choices and a stronger voice at the polls will turn in more than 70,000 petition signatures of qualified registered voters to the Secretary of State's office tomorrow. The petitioners seek to lift the state's ban against cross endorsement voting, which allows two or more political parties to form a ballot coalition backing the same candidate. This year, 65,825 qualified signatures are needed to put a measure on the statewide ballot.

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."

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 allowed in five other 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 20 labor organizations backing the election reform. "With the power of cross-endorsement, average citizens can more effectively bring issues like affordable health care, better jobs and stronger public schools into the electoral arena."

The Mass Ballot Freedom campaign is also pushing for passage of House Bill 90 that would similarly repeal the ban on cross endorsement voting, making the ballot referendum unnecessary. The Legislatures' Joint Committee on Elections has scheduled a hearing on the bill for January 17. The bill is co-sponsored by seven Democratic and Republican legislators.
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Re: Ballot Freedom initiative to lift ban on party cross endorsements reaches signature goal
06 Dec 2005
Three facts that we didn’t have time to include: Massachusetts tops all 50 states in its incumbent reelection rate. It ranks 49th among all states in the number of competitive legislative races. Cross endorsement will help stimulate more competition by allowing smaller parties to form viable electoral coalitions.

Independent voters now are 49 percent of the Massachusetts electorate. Cross endorsement opens up new ways for independent voters to participate without being forced to vote as a Democrat or Republican.
No it won't
06 Dec 2005
The hacks pushing this are doing it because the Democrats, the other party of war and racism, are losing their appeal to workers as they continue to back the war in Iraq, along with the whole program of US imperialism. So they need to create bogus front parties like New York's "working families party" that supports that great working-class heroine, Hillary Clinton.

So soon in MA you will be able to vote "Green" or "Working Families" for Kerry and Kennedy. What progress!

Workers need a party of our own, based in the unions and independent of the capitalist parties.