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Even a voting rights organization can see need for fewer elections in Boston mayoral race

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks to the media at City Hall on Jan. 26.Matt Stone/Pool

We fully agree with your take in the Jan. 15 editorial, “One red hot mayoral race is enough.”

It’s not often that MassVOTE — a voting rights organization — calls for fewer elections, but in one specific case, we must. If Mayor Walsh resigns his post before March 5 to join the Biden administration, then the city is required to hold a set of special elections to fill his seat, on top of this fall’s regularly scheduled elections.

If no action is taken to address this, Boston residents would probably have to vote four times in a matter of months: twice in preliminary elections and twice in generals.


This is absurd for three reasons: First, it places additional burdens on an already-cash-strapped city. Second, we are still grappling with a pandemic that continues to infect hundreds in the city each day. Third, it will cause highly unnecessary voter fatigue. The more elections held, the less likely voters are to turn out for each election.

These unfair circumstances will especially burden Boston’s underrepresented communities: its Black and brown, immigrant, and low-income residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected these communities from both an economic and public health perspective. It should not harm them from a political one, too.

Cheryl Clyburn Crawford

Executive director



The writer is also first vice president of the Boston branch of the NAACP.