Signature requirements must be changed for 2020

Pink background overlaid with text which reads, “The signature requirement is an unconscionable and unconstitutional barrier to the ballot right now. There are lots of candidates who deserve to be on the ballot, and none should be asked to risk to lives or the lives of others in this pursuit.”

Last night, Patrick Roath of Ropes and Gray filled an emergency petition with the Mass Supreme Judicial Court to reduce or eliminate the signature requirement to get on the ballot. Plaintiffs include me, Congressional Candidate and Infectious Disease doctor Robbie Goldstein, and Senate candidate Kevin O’Connor. This is a bipartisan effort to protect the public health, and I am proud to be part of it. 

Reducing the number of interactions people have will save lives. Not just mine, but town clerks, staff at the Secretary of State’s office, postal workers, volunteers, voters, and more. The signature requirement is an unconscionable and unconstitutional barrier to the ballot right now. There are lots of candidates who deserve to be on the ballot, and none should be asked to risk their lives or the lives of others in this pursuit. 

My incredible campaign manager, local physician Dr. Katie McBrine, has kept me up to date on the issue and the danger to the public. Last night, her grandfather died of Covid-19 in Chicago. The threat is real, it is close, and its effects are heartbreaking. 

If we can get our government to prioritize the health and well-being of people in the electoral process, I believe we can move the government to prioritize the health and well-being of people in other areas. This may seem like a trivial matter. Indeed, signature collection affects far fewer people than income loss, being underinsured, and food and housing insecurity. But I believe that if we can move the legislature, the Secretary of State, or the Mass Supreme Judicial Court to act immediately on this, we will be able to move the needle in so many other areas. 

I am focused on the big picture. We must act fast to protect ourselves not only from the illness but from the myriad effects of this pandemic on every aspect of our lives. 

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