Galvin is out of line

Why is secretary of state bashing United Independent Party?

William Galvin, the secretary of state, has made no secret of his open hostility to the United Independent Party. In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, he made a series of claims about the UIP that are totally out of line and inappropriate for someone in his position as the state’s top elections official. Here are three of his biggest whoppers and why he’s wrong.

 1. There is a process for ballot access, and the United Independent Party has done nothing wrong by complying with it.  So why is Galvin complaining about the cost? Galvin says he objects to the cost of printing UIP ballots for the upcoming election. If Galvin wants to talk about wasted money, he should look closer to home. In recent years, he spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money on promotional ads for his office that prominently feature his face and which are put together by the same firm that does his campaign work. In none of his comments has Galvin claimed the UIP has violated any laws or regulations. Instead, he seems to view the UIP as an inconvenience to himself – which is exactly the entrenched sense of partisan entitlement we need to change.

2. Why is Bill Galvin so hostile to competitive elections? In a state renowned for start-up companies, you would think our government would support the idea of start-up democracy. In fact, in a state where nearly two-thirds of our state representatives run unopposed, and in which the Trump-led GOP is all but dead, you would think our chief elections official would encourage competitive elections. But in one-party Massachusetts, the secretary of state acts like a Democratic Party hack and has the temerity to actually discourage fair and open political competition. Galvin recently told an audience that votes for third-party candidates are a “waste.” Maybe he should object to the cost of printing ballots in uncontested races where Democrats face no competition rather than objecting to people trying to organize to create much-needed competition. This very core of our democracy should never be considered something laughable or something to be extinguished. To imply otherwise is the height of out-of-touch arrogance.

Meet the Author

3. Why is Galvin lying about the number of UIP candidates running and serving in office? Galvin – and former Democratic Party head honcho John Walsh – repeatedly make the false claim that the UIP has had only one candidate run for office. It’s a lie. There are currently five members of the UIP serving in local office in Massachusetts, all of which were elected in 2015. And this year, there are at least three candidates for the Legislature vying for the UIP ballot line in November. For a start-up party that just earned official status 20 months ago, that’s a pretty impressive record. For two of the most powerful Democrats in Massachusetts to willfully mislead the public on this important fact is shameful. They know better and they should apologize.

At the end of the day, let’s be honest about what’s going on. The UIP is a pain in the neck for the political establishment, and Galvin is the poster child of that group. They don’t want accountability and open discussion on issues like the Olympics, big tax breaks to GE, the failure of the MBTA, the effort to bring IndyCar to Boston, and many other issues. So, why is the secretary of state so worried about a party he thinks is such a joke? Maybe it’s because he’s on the wrong side of history. Building healthy change from the ground up and strengthening our democracy take time. As an elected official supported by taxpayer dollars from all of us, Galvin should be assisting in this new political effort, not wasting time mocking it to anyone who will listen. This is the reason we hope other like-minded people will join the United Independent Party.

Evan Falchuk is the chairman of the United Independent Party.