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Here’s the math: How Zakim, at 34 years old, missed 16 elections

It was, arguably, the most unanticipated blow in a heated Democratic primary for secretary of state. In the midst of their first televised debate, Secretary of State William Galvin questioned how Josh Zakim, a Boston city councilor, could run for a post that oversees elections when he has failed repeatedly to vote in elections himself?

“You were registered . . . and you didn’t vote,” Galvin told a flustered Zakim, pointing out he didn’t cast a ballot in former US senator John Kerry’s 2004 run for the presidency, or former governor Deval Patrick’s 2006 primary campaign.

The charge, and the footage that followed, resulted in a pointed campaign ad detailing Josh Zakim’s spotty voting record.


“No-Show Zakim,” a voice-over in the ad proclaims. “He doesn’t bother to vote, let’s not vote for him.”

Days later, Galvin followed with the campaign ad on network TV, pointing out Zakim has not voted in 15 elections.

Jon Tapper, a spokesman for Zakim, released a statement saying Zakim has not missed an election since he registered in Boston in 2011, and he took issue with Galvin’s belittling tone.

“It’s somewhat surprising that Secretary Galvin didn’t just make an ad yelling at Josh to ‘get off my lawn,’ ” Tapper said.

So, how does it add up that a politician, at 34 years old, missed 15 elections?

Well, it’s actually 16, according to Galvin’s campaign, which tallied every state primary and election, federal election, and local election that Zakim missed in Newton, where he was raised and lived before he changed his voting address to Boston in 2011. Zakim’s campaign does not dispute the tally.

Zakim actually voted in the first election that occurred after he registered in January 2002, not long after his 18th birthday, for an override question in Newton in April that year, according to the tally. Then, he missed that year’s state primary, though he voted in the general election.


From 2003 through 2006, he missed nine straight elections — including those primaries with Kerry and Patrick — though he said during the debate that he was attending college in Pennsylvania for much of that time. He started in fall 2002, graduated in spring 2006, and he did not vote by absentee ballot in that time, he acknowledged.

Zakim started at the Northeastern University School of Law in fall 2006. In 2007, he also missed three city elections in Newton, as well as a city special election and the state primary in 2008. (He voted in federal elections that year, when President Obama won his first term.) He missed the Newton city election in November 2011 as well, and shifted his registration to Boston the following month, where he has voted consistently since, both campaigns confirmed.

Zakim won his spot on the council in 2013.

Milton J. Valencia

Warren’s opponents target her Tibbetts comments

US Senator Elizabeth Warren stepped into a hornets’ nest Wednesday when she reacted to the alleged murder of an Iowa teenager by an undocumented immigrant by pivoting to the Trump administration’s policy of family separation along the border and saying the focus of the immigration debate should be kept “where real problems are.”

Warren, who is running for a second term in Massachusetts, appeared on CNN Wednesday where she was asked about Trump and Vice President Mike Pence using the murder of Mollie Tibbetts to call for tougher border security. Authorities found Tibbetts’s body on Tuesday after she had gone missing, and the suspect arrested in the case was reportedly in the country illegally.


“I’m so sorry for the family here, and I know this is hard not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are,” Warren said.

She went on to talk about her visit to the border in Texas last month where she met with mothers who had their children separated from them with no plan by the government for reunification. “I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat and I don’t think mommas and babies are the places we should be spending our resources,” Warren said.

The three Republicans running the Senate primary for Warren’s seat uniformly condemned Warren’s comments.

“While I don’t support separating children at the border, I recognize that the murders of children are a real problem. Senator Warren is wrong,” Representative Geoff Diehl said.

Beth Lindstrom called Warren’s remarks “disrespectful” and “careless.”

“Abolishing ICE, as Senator Warren is proposing, is going to make matters worse. Senator Warren’s support for sanctuary cities increases the pressure on law enforcement. I’m hoping the horribly tragic murder of Mollie Tibbetts will finally cause Senator Warren to realize we must secure the border and enforce America’s immigration laws,” Lindstrom said.


And businessman John Kingston said Warren should apologize to the Tibbetts family. “After horrific tragedies like this, we should be focusing on bringing people together to heal — not trying to divide people to score cheap political points. Senator Warren’s outrageously insensitive remarks are yet another example of how out of touch she is,” Kingston said.

State House News Service

On the trail ...

In an event billed as a call to “hold our elected representatives accountable,” the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will host two Democrats running for governor, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie, as well as several candidates for district attorney in Suffolk and Middlesex counties on Thursday evening. Organizers for the group of religious leaders, congregation members, and community leaders who push for social justice causes said the candidates will respond to “targeted” questions. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Boston Teachers Union hall in Dorchester.