John Bonifaz ran as a Democratic candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State in the 2006 Democratic primary and received nearly 130,000 votes. This website, which previously served as his campaign site, is dedicated to continuing to press for electoral reforms and other changes which would make Massachusetts a model for democracy for the nation.
Recent Blog Posts
Submitted by Ofer Inbar on Thu, 09/21/2006 - 12:51pm.
[ crossposted at Blue Mass Group ]
For much of the year, I have worked for John Bonifaz, not just promoting his campaign online, but also covering election issues to inform people about the state of Democracy in America and the problems we need to fix. On Tuesday, I dedicated the day to Sonia Chang-Diaz's campaign for state senate in the Second Suffolk district.
The two streams combined: Tuesday night, I found myself at the center of the kinds of voting problems I'd written about on John's blog. Even before Wednesday's announcement that eight precincts had no vote tallies at all, we knew there were hundreds, if not thousands, of votes not counted, and the election results uncertain. On Wednesday, the Chang-Diaz campaign called John Bonifaz to help guide them through the process of seeing all the votes counted.
I'd like to commend the Boston elections department for being as helpful as they have, on election night and in advance. Especially John Donovan - if we pull through this mess and end up with a full and reliable count of the votes, it will be partly thanks to him. But make no mistake: the votes have not been counted, even without considering the 8 precincts that submitted no tallies. It's not yet time to think about a "recount" - we still need a real first count.
As Bonifaz said many times on the campaign trail, we didn't know about the problems in Florida until 2000, and most of us didn't know about the problems in Ohio until 2004; if we have a really close result in a prominent election, we would find out that we also have problems here in Massachusetts. Perhaps this will be the election that brings them to our attention.
Count the Votes?
During most of the last couple of hours before polls closed, and the next few hours after, I held the line 1 telephone and fielded a majority of the incoming calls. Signs of trouble started early in the evening: the first time I got a call from a volunteer asking "they're supposed to count the votes, right?" I almost didn't know what to make of it.
Submitted by John Bonifaz on Tue, 09/19/2006 - 9:44pm.
Over the last 10 months, I have traveled the Commonwealth speaking to voters from the Berkshires to the Cape and everywhere in between. I have been inspired by the passion and commitment of voters of all ages and from all walks of life to this grassroots campaign.
Thanks to all of you who supported this campaign. I have been humbled by your support and am proud to stand with you again tonight.
While we did not emerge victorious at the polls, we should all feel a sense of pride about our efforts, about the movement we have started and about what lies ahead. Tuesday, nearly 130,000 voters stood up and I am honored to stand with them today and into the future.
This is just the beginning. We'll be back and together we will continue our journey to return voters to power and to make Massachusetts a national leader once again.
Submitted by Ofer Inbar on Tue, 09/19/2006 - 3:44pm.
On the front page of The Nation's web site today, John Nichols' A Plan to Fix Our Broken Elections proclaims, Massachusetts candidate John Bonifaz has the right program to restore democracy.
Nichols writes, "Some of us have been writing and talking about this country's almost fully dysfunctional electoral systems for the better part of a decade." Secretary of state positions "have to be occupied by champions of democracy who believe that protecting and the promoting the right to vote must be the central function of local and state election officials."
[Bonifaz] has persevered with a primary campaign that has spoken well and wisely of the need to fix our broken election systems. His small "d" democratic commitment has earned Bonifaz enthusiastic endorsements from newspapers such as the Boston Phoenix, one of the nation's premier alternative weeklies, and the New Bedford Standard-Times, which declared last week that, "Mr. Galvin has not used his office enough to push through voting reforms that make Massachusetts a shining example and a leader in reviving democracy at the local level. Mr. Bonifaz will be that champion for the voter."
Submitted by Ofer Inbar on Tue, 09/19/2006 - 7:21am.
We've always believed that if voters took a long look at the candidates for Secretary, most of them would pick John Bonifaz. He's clearly the better candidate. Our challenge has been that most voters don't think about the race for Secretary, and the press doesn't cover it as much as the exciting race for Governor that voters are paying a lot more attention to. Our task has been to get the word out, to get people interested in researching the candidates, knowing that of those who do, a majority will vote for Bonifaz.
We believe Bill Galvin knows it. Bill Galvin's strategy has been to keep this race out of the news and to keep voters in the dark. His hope is that most voters won't think much about the race for Secretary until they're at the polling place, see the ballot, and vote for the incumbent whose name they probably recognize.
Well, one group of voters who have been paying a lot of attention, and carefully evaluating the candidates all year, are the bloggers. They're independent of the Democratic party, but they're very active and informed. Massachusetts Democratic political bloggers span the spectrum of views in the Massachusetts Democratic party, and earlier this year, several of them were leaning towards Galvin, several towards Bonifaz, and several undecided. And after taking a good long hard look at the candidates, a host of Massachusetts Democratic blogs endorsed John Bonifaz while none have endorsed Galvin as far as we can see.
Submitted by Ofer Inbar on Tue, 09/19/2006 - 12:52am.
A vote for Bonifaz is...
A vote for same day registration.
A vote for clean elections.
A vote against Diebold touchscreen voting.
A vote for enforcing the Voting Rights Act in Massachusetts.
A vote against entrenched incumbency and for public debate.
Bill Galvin ignored voting rights violations while Bonifaz stepped up to help, stayed silent when clean elections was attacked and Bonifaz led the fight to defend it, blocked same day registration legislation promoted by town clerks, and has failed to show up to a single debate with John Bonifaz all year. The difference couldn't be clearer.
Vote, then call your friends and remind them to vote.
Submitted by Ofer Inbar on Mon, 09/18/2006 - 3:21pm.
The Help America Vote Act, was a mixed bag, but one clearly positive part of the bill was a requirement that states make voting more accessible to the disabled. As the Boston Globe reported, however, Bill Galvin failed to meet the deadline to comply. HAVA, passed in 2002, gave states until Jan. 1, 2006, "to provide disabled voters with the same accessibility and privacy in the voting booth that everyone else enjoys."
State elections officials say specially designed voting machines for people with disabilities might not be available at every polling place in time for the Sept. 19 primary election, despite a federal requirement that the machines be in place this year. Secretary of State William F. Galvin said he is near the end of a lengthy vetting process and could order the machines within days, depending upon an outside expert's evaluation of three models
The Federal government has already sued a few states for failing to comply with this requirement. John Bonifaz harshly criticized Galvin's inaction:
"One of the most important aspects of the Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, is the need for states across the country to have voting equipment that adequately and securely meets the needs of voters with disabilities. [...] despite HAVA's passage four years ago, Secretary Galvin has no plan in place to meet this requirement and train all poll workers in time for September 19. [...] this process should have started years ago, after the bill's 2002 passage. Massachusetts is again failing to meet basic federal requirements because of Secretary Galvin's inaction. We've seen voting rights violations and Justice Department lawsuits in Boston and Springfield. Now, it is non-compliance with a critical voter accessibility law."
John Bonifaz answers questions,
According to Massachusetts election integrity groups, Galvin's office sent out requests for proposals to voting machine companies only last fall, and narrowed the choices down to three for serious consideration. For most of this year, anxious town clerks who have asked the elections division what machines they may need to by, have been told that these three options are still being evaluated. They are: the AutoMARK, the Hart InterCivic eSlate, and the Diebold AccuVote touchscreen voting machine!
John Bonifaz would not consider bringing proprietary Diebold touchscreen voting to Massachusetts. In his Voters' Bill of Rights he writes,
1. Count every vote
The right to vote includes the right to have our votes properly counted.
We must ensure that every citizen's vote will be counted. This includes a guarantee of open and transparent elections with verified voting, paper trails, hand-recorded paper ballots, and access to the source codes for, and random audits of, electronic voting machines. It also includes a guarantee that we the people, through our government, will control our voting machines — not private companies.
Submitted by Mimi Kennedy on Mon, 09/18/2006 - 7:30am.
(Mimi Kennedy is the chair of the board of Progressive Democrats of America -- Ofer Inbar)
John Bonifaz's election as Massachusetts Secretary of State is necessary to reverse the decline in American democracy at a time when our children's future hangs in the balance.
In November 2000, John Conyers and NAACP officials conducted post-election hearings in a sweltering schoolroom in Florida. I watched, on C-SPAN, as African American voters and pollworkers told stories of abuse and disenfranchisement that made me weep. I had celebrated the civil rights victories of the sixties, but as a white person, I'd never been harassed or disenfranchised at the polls. The reality for my fellow voters, forty years after the Voting Rights Act, was horrifying. When John Conyers' thorough report on Florida established the groundwork for federal election reform, I rejoiced.
The Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002. Like most Americans and their legislators, I didn't know the bill's details. The name promised an end to disenfranchisement and national enforcement of standards to end local corruption: election reform! But, like the resolution that led to war in Iraq, like the Patriot Act, HAVA has had consequences that, while perhaps not unintended by the lobbyists who helped craft it, has sown wider and more subtle disenfranchisement throughout the country.
In Ohio, 2004, electronic voting helped a partisan Secretary of State decide the presidential election despite massive anomalies, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, and documented, decisive inaccuracies.
John Conyers, once again a lone legislator crying "foul!", held hearings - and John Bonifaz was there. His detailed analysis of Ohio's problems established him as a leader in both the voter-suppression and technological aspects of election reform and election protection - now combining under the name election integrity. His passion for election integrity is just that: it is for integrity. Our voting system must serve all voters' intent. It is not to be used to reward some and punish others; to serve some interests and ignore others; to record some votes accurately and shift others; to give access to some and deny it to others.
John Bonifaz understands the threat to democracy from social injustice. As a leading Constitutional lawyer, he's committed to civil rights. But he also understands - with a knowledge that is rare and increasingly valuable -- how mathematically-manipulated elections happen -- and are accepted by an electorate convinced by skewed polls and divisive PR campaigns.
Restore hope to democracy by electing John Bonifaz, one of the nation's leading election protectors, as Massachusetts' top elections official.
Returning Voters to Power
Welcome to our campaign. Together, we will make Massachusetts a model for free and fair elections for the nation.
"Massachusetts deserves a strong, proven leader like John Bonifaz. Our country needs to elect more principled progressive candidates like John Bonifaz."
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
"John Bonifaz's vision and leadership to stand up for what he believes and to take on the most powerful forces in the country on behalf of voters is second to none. I am proud to endorse John Bonifaz for Massachusetts Secretary of State because these are exactly the qualities that he will bring to the office, to the people of Massachusetts and to the nation."
Congressman Dennis Kucinich