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Bonifaz Launches Campaign

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about a candidate considering a run for Secretary of State of Massachusetts, an unusual candidate in that he is a national leader in the fight for voting rights and campaign reform. Today John Bonifaz officially anounced his candidacy! This is, as I argued two weeks ago, a race of NATIONAL importance.

Here is what the Boston Globe said today: "Activist lawyer to vie for secretary of state: "John C. Bonifaz, an activist lawyer and advocate for election law changes, said yesterday he will run for Massachusetts secretary of state, regardless of whether William F. Galvin seeks reelection. For several months, Bonifaz has been organizing a campaign that depended on whether Galvin decides to run for governor next year. Galvin, a Democrat, said he will make his decision shortly. With only $8,000 raised, Bonifaz said he will run a grass-roots campaign and has signed on national consultant Joe Trippi to help him. Bonifaz was critical of Galvin's record on election issues, the secretary's chief responsibility. 'We can do better,' he said. 'I don't share the view that his record is stellar. We should lead the nation.' Galvin's press secretary, Brian McNiff, said Galvin is proud of his record on elections."

Electing Bonifaz would indeed mean leading the nation toward cleaner, more reliable elections and greater access to the polls. This is John's website:

And here is his post on his blog today announcing his candidacy:

He says there, in part, and perhaps in response to the Boston Globe:

"I have also witnessed in recent weeks that the incumbent Secretary, William F. Galvin, is failing to live up to his responsibilities as the chief elections officer in the state. Here are a few key examples:

"In Lawrence, Massachusetts, thousands of voters were discouraged from participating in the municipal election on November 8, 2005, when the city, in violation of federal and state law, sent them late notices, days before the election, telling them that they were on the inactive voter list. The notices failed to inform the voters that they could still vote and gave the voters little or no time to be reinstated on the active voter list. A coalition of Lawrence city councilors sent a letter to Secretary Galvin on October 20, within 48 hours after these notices were sent, urging that he intervene. Secretary Galvin did not respond. As the election day neared and in the face of Secretary Galvin’s continued silence, I worked with Lawrence city councilors Carlos Matos and Barbara Gonzalez, and with Oíste, the Massachusetts Latino Political Organization. We pressed the ACLU of Massachusetts to file a federal lawsuit to try to remedy the widespread confusion and disenfranchisement the city had caused. (See my blog entry of November 28 for further details.) The court was, unfortunately, unwilling to provide an effective remedy and, as a result, Lawrence had the lowest voter turnout for a mayoral election in fifty years.

"The US Department of Justice recently had to sue the City of Boston for discriminating against language minorities in municipal elections, in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The city has settled the case and the Justice Department will now be monitoring Boston elections for the near future to ensure the city’s compliance with federal law. Why does the City of Boston have to be sued by the US Department of Justice in order to ensure that the city complies with the Voting Rights Act?

"Democracy advocates in Massachusetts are pushing for Election Day Registration here to make voting easier for all of our citizens. Six states already have Election Day Registration and the reform has proven to be a success. As a way to test the reform here, democracy advocates had proposed a pilot project that would enable towns in Massachusetts to experiment with Election Day Registration in 2006 elections. Secretary Galvin worked behind the scenes in recent days to push the legislature not to implement this pilot project.

"Massachusetts deserves better. We deserve a Secretary of State who will lead the nation in fighting for the rights of all citizens to an equal and meaningful vote. As Secretary, I will press for a new bill of rights – a Voters’ Bill of Rights. A new set of guarantees that will make our democracy in Massachusetts stronger and provide an example to the country. I will be a Secretary of State who fights to uphold this nation’s promise of political equality for all.

"Fifty years ago today, a courageous woman named Rosa Parks took her seat at the front of a Montgomery bus and refused to move. Her heroic act helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. By sitting down, Rosa Parks inspired millions of people to stand up. And she will remain an inspiration for generations to come.

"I was not alive on that day fifty years ago, but I count myself among the many whose lives she touched. Today I take this stand as part of the ongoing struggle for democracy. I hope you will stand with me."

John's will be a grassroots campaign.

If you are interested in volunteering, write to

If you have not already done so, please consider making a contribution today to the campaign to help demonstrate early viability. You can make a contribution online at; if you prefer to contribute by check, you can mail a check payable to the Bonifaz Committee to:

Bonifaz Committee
P.O. Box 300007
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts 02130

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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