Holly Robichaud: MA Republicans Must Master Mail-In Balloting

I absolutely hate mail-in balloting! Like you, I worry about the many voter integrity issues. However, our worrying is not going to overturn the legislature’s decision. Unfortunately, the courts are not a remedy for putting an end to it. 

Hence, here in the Commonwealth, we are stuck with mail-in balloting until the GOP takes over the House and Senate. We must face the unpalatable fact for all future campaigns it is going to happen.

When 20 to 40 percent of voters are using the option, as a Party, Republicans can no longer just object to mail-in balloting and hope it goes away.  We need to master this new voting procedure to help level the playing field in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. 

The Massachusetts Democrat State Party and their allied special-interest groups have aggressive mail-in balloting programs which made the electoral difference for the so-called millionaires’ tax ballot question.

Starting last summer, the Democrats sent weekly public records requests to every town hall asking for the list of who had applied for mail-in ballots. They did not wait until after the primaries were over in September. They were sending the letters before Secretary of State Bill Galvin had sent out the applications so that they had immediate access. 

Beyond the Democrat State Party, the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and other progressive groups were aggressively working the mail-in ballots to support Question 1. When they were banking votes for the tax-raising ballot initiative, they were also banking votes for the Democrat candidates.

On the Republican side, campaigns were left to fend for themselves sending out the public records requests and then battling with the generally liberal-leaning town/city clerks to get the data. Towns such as Mansfield, Rehoboth, and Sandwich sent their lists promptly but cities came up with excuse after excuse why they could wait to comply.

New Bedford took 21 days longer than any other community to hand over the data.  So despite the best efforts by Republicans, voters were often getting their ballots before the GOP candidate could send them information. 

As Republicans, we have to accept that mail-in balloting is going to be part of future campaigns and strategize how to make it work for our side.  We must figure out how to communicate with the people who are voting before they vote. 

I know that most of us like to vote on Election Day, but by aggressively using mail-in balloting we could increase our turnout percentage of right-leaning voters by 2 to 6 percentage points, which would have made the winning difference on the ballot questions. 

The first step is to target Republicans who only vote in Presidential years.  By encouraging them to vote every election, we could bump up our turnout.  We should also work communities that vote Republican—our own little rust belt.

There are many center-right unenrolleds who should be encouraged to vote, and of course, first responders and veterans must be targeted.

As long as we as a party continue to thumb our noses at mail-in balloting, we are not going to win elections in Massachusetts. It is already hard enough to compete. We cannot afford to ignore our new reality. 

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