Our Opinion: Galvin for secretary of state

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Campaigns for secretary of state in Massachusetts often go under the radar, but not this year. During the presidency of Donald Trump, protecting the integrity of the election and census processes has become a major issue, one that is critical to preserving our democratic system.

The heated campaign between Democratic incumbent William Galvin and Republican challenger Anthony Amore reflects the importance of this race. Mr. Galvin brings long, valuable experience to this effort to assure the integrity of the state's democracy, and as important, he has fought against the Trump administration's attempts to undermine that system since Mr. Trump became president.

When President Trump asserted without evidence that millions of people voting illegally, including some Massachusetts residents who supposedly voted in New Hampshire, Mr. Galvin defended the integrity of the state's system and joined other secretaries of state in fending off a partisan "investigation" of the 2016 vote. He spoke out forcefully against a since abandoned Trump plan to send Secret Service agents to monitor polling places of his choosing in the coming election.

The 2020 census will be critical in determining, among other things, representation in the House and the distributing of federal funding, and there are indications that the Trump White House will interfere with it by for example including a citizenship question designed to reduce participation by minorities. Both candidates for secretary of state oppose inclusion of this question, but Mr. Galvin has shown in his current term that he can be counted upon to battle partisan White House initiatives. Last week, noting that the Census Bureau will not open any field offices in Western Massachusetts, as the bureau has done in the past, Mr. Galvin promised to work to assure that this region is represented.

An argument could be made that a Republican secretary of state would be more effective in challenging dictates from a Republican administration and Census Bureau. However, we fear that Mr. Amore would not make these challenges based on his record. He has opposed same day voter registration, which would encourage greater voter participation. He wants to institute voter ID requirements, a standard Republican "solution" to non-existent voter fraud on a massive scale. He would be more likely to rubber-stamp Trump initiatives.

During a debate, Mr. Galvin challenged Mr. Amore on tweets that appeared to support the president's Muslim travel ban, including one in which he accused Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired for not defending the travel ban, of "grandstanding" in her opposition. Mr. Amore responded by saying his dispute was largely over semantics and he is not anti-immigrant, but if a tweet had to be made it should have deplored a travel ban based shamefully upon religion.

Mr. Amore has claimed that the state's election system is not secure, but in fact there is a paper trail for every ballot that has enabled Massachusetts to avoid the disasters that have afflicted other states. One of his office's little known responsibilities is historic preservation, and former North Adams mayor and current state representative John Barrett III has credited him with using his office's influence and funding in the cause of preserving buildings in North Adams, as well as around the county.

Bill Galvin has been an effective secretary of state and has earned The Eagle's endorsement for another term.












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