Testimony on H.706
October 5, 2019
Re: Testimony on H.706
Dear Chairs Lawn and Finegold,
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.706, a bill relating to the duties of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. I have sponsored this bill this session in large part due to current events in other states, specifically that of the state of Georgia.
As I am sure you are aware, the Secretary of State in Georgia ran for Governor in 2018 while maintaining his position as Secretary of State. His dual role as the constitutional officer overseeing elections while he himself was running for another major constitutional office led to significant concerns about election tampering, especially around voter registration.
By no means do I anticipate this being a significant problem in Massachusetts in the near-term future, but if the experience of other states holds true, it is important to codify expected norms relating to election law. The Secretary of the Commonwealth has unique responsibilities as it relates to elections, including timing of elections, voter registration rolls, and recounts. It would be irresponsible for us to allow someone in this position to oversee their own election to an even higher office.
This bill would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to step down from their position should they choose to run for another constitutional office, thus removing any real or perceived conflict of interest. I believe implementation of this rule will ensure avoidance of conflict of interest under a variety of potential, if unlikely, situations, should the Commonwealth face them in the future.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns.
6TH MIDDLESEX DISTRICT