Thursday, May 28, 2020

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #21

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hi friends,

I hope you're well and enjoying the sunshine. My town election was yesterday, and I've got a story for you about it.

A little over a week ago, I downloaded and printed mail-in ballot requests for myself and my spouse. (There's no way to do this through a secure web portal.) We completed them in pen, included all the necessary info, and just as I was about to snap photos of them and email the images to our amazing town clerk, I realized I felt mildly concerned about sending an unsecure email that included our dates of birth, address, and other info necessary for the ballot application. So, I stuck the completed forms in an envelope and sealed it. I was about to mail the forms, but then I got nervous they might not arrive in time, so I decided to drop them off by hand in the drop box at Town Hall.

And then life happened. I didn't drive by Town Hall for a week. No problem, I thought early last week. The deadline for submitting a mail-in ballot application isn't until Friday at noon. On Thursday I put the forms in the drop box. I also sent an email to the clerk alerting her that I'd dropped them off.

I didn't expect the ballots to arrive on Friday, but I was hoping they'd arrive on Saturday. Saturday's mail came and went -- no ballots. No mail on Sunday or Monday either, because of the holiday, so that meant the earliest the ballots might arrive would be Tuesday, which was also election day.

Our mail usually arrives around 12:30pm. I watched the clock as my jam-packed day progressed. I checked the mail after my noon meeting ended (at 1:45pm) -- no mail. I checked again an hour later -- still no mail. By 3pm, I realized we would have to go vote in person, because the polls closed at 4pm. We took turns because our kids are home (of course) and not yet old enough to stay by themselves. With less than an hour remaining before the polls closed, we both ran out to vote in person.

The mail came at 4:30pm. With the ballots. Half an hour *after* the polls closed and too late for us to use them.

This wasn't anyone's fault -- it's further evidence of a flawed opt-in system of voting by mail. We both had to rush to the polls with less than an hour left, and in an election with higher turnout, this scenario would yield a big crowd at the polling place, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid during a pandemic. My story shows just how essential it is for us to pass automatic (no request or application necessary) vote by mail for both the September primary and the November general election. If you haven't yet read up about my 2020 Vote By Mail Act, please do. It's the only legislation on Beacon Hill that will yield universal, automatic vote by mail for our statewide elections this year.

Let's also use my story as a reminder for everyone with upcoming town elections, please request your vote by mail ballot early. I have detailed instructions and election dates on my website.

As always, my team and I are here for you. Call us at 617-722-1555 or email me directly at and one of us will get back to you as quickly as we can. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.

Wishing you and your families strength, health, and resilience. 

Yours in service,

Senator Becca Rausch

The newsletter was shortened for publication here, to review the full set of content:

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #21
Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #21

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