A State House bill that would combine the 2012 presidential and state primaries to one day has gained support in a number of Massachusetts communities. The bill, written by Woburn City Clerk William Campbell, has bipartisan support on Beacon Hill.
In the past few weeks, 50 communities have voted to request the Legislature approve the bill. “The principal intent of the bill is to allow Massachusetts residents residing overseas, including military personnel, the opportunity to vote and to know their vote counts,” said Campbell. “However, this bill goes further. By combining the two elections, taxpayers will save at least $8 million. Elections are streamlined and the bill reduces voter fatigue.”
In 2010, Massachusetts received a waiver from a federal law requiring states transmit ballots to voters overseas at least 45 days before an election due to its late primary. Instead, the state allowed voters to vote by email or fax. However, a voter had to sign a statement waiving her right to a secret ballot.
“In written testimony in support of the bill, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) reported 11,691 Massachusetts men and women in the armed services, along with 3,899 spouses and voting age dependents. However in the 2010 election, the Secretary of State reported to FVAP that only 400 active duty military ballots were counted.” Campbell said. “The fact that these voters have to waive their right to a secret ballot has to be corrected.”