In his indignant article titled “Politics Sizzles” in The Franklin Observer (10/14/21) Alan Earls complains of—among other things--“one more departure from the traditional ‘non-partisan’ orientation of town elections” in Jennifer Williams’s use of “Act Blue, the national Democratic fundraising system, to gather funds for her candidacy.”
The nonpartisan description of Franklin elections has always puzzled me. Section 5-1-1 of the Town Charter says
"All elections of town officers and Town Council members shall be nonpartisan, and all election ballots shall be printed without any party mark or other political emblem."
What does that mean? The term “nonpartisan” as applied to elections simply means that candidates do not run with partisan labels. It means only that. The candidate will not be identified with a party on the ballot. Nothing more, nothing less.
The more interesting question is what it does NOT mean.
It does NOT mean that candidates cannot belong to a political party.
It does NOT mean that candidates cannot be supported by a political party.
It does NOT mean that candidates cannot use a party’s national fundraising system.
It does NOT mean that candidates cannot be supported by a PAC.
It does NOT mean that candidates cannot espouse the values or policy positions of their party.
Apart from the restriction about party affiliations appearing on the ballot, the nonpartisan clause is merely aspirational. It proscribes no actions beyond the ballot format.
Why does this discussion matter? For two reasons:
First, it makes clear that Williams has done absolutely nothing to violate the Charter’s nonpartisan clause.
Second, it exposes the hypocrisy of “editor” Alan Earls in bemoaning the partisanship in this election when he is himself a candidate and when he is the chairman of the Franklin Republican Town Committee.
Franklin Observer article link for reference -> https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/45691/politics-sizzles