Primary guide: Secretary of state
Here’s a look at the candidates on the Sept. 4 primary ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.
Secretary of State
The secretary oversees elections, public records, and the securities industry, as well as the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
William Francis Galvin
Galvin, 67, is currently serving his sixth term as secretary of state. He started working in politics in 1972 as an aide to the Governor’s Council. In 1975, Galvin won a special election for state representative from Allston-Brighton. The Brighton native served as chairman of the Committee on Government Regulations in the Legislature, and in 1990 he waged an unsuccessful campaign for state treasurer. Four years later, he sought and won the secretary of state post, becoming the 28th person to hold that office. He has served in that office for 24 years, working to create the state’s first Central Voter Registry.
In your current role, what change or reform have you made that has had the greatest impact on residents?* An enormous expansion of our voting system and maintaining elections security, including creating a central voter registry, establishing mail-in and online voter registration, pre-registration starting at age 16, simplification of absentee ballots, early voting, and automatic voter registration.
What’s the single most important thing that a Secretary of State should do to improve voter access in Mass.? Expansion of early voting to include primaries and municipal elections, to give us weekend voting as well as multiple days to make sure everyone has a good opportunity to vote. Our first early voting period brought approximately one million voters to the polls and helped us achieve record turnout.
Give us two ways you are different from your primary opponent. Financial regulation and elections expertise. I put over $50 million back in people’s pockets when they were ripped off, and know how to use state law when federal laws are weakened. I refused to turn over voter information to Trump and helped stop his plan to put the Secret Service at the polls.
Where (and when) did you eat the best meal you’ve had in Boston? That’s the hardest question here! I can’t possibly pick one. I’ve been lucky enough to have more wonderful meals in Boston than I can count!
Zakim, 34, has been the Boston city councilor for Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Fenway since 2013. After graduating from the Northeastern University School of Law in 2009, Zakim practiced at Greater Boston Legal Services and Mintz Levin. As city councilor, Zakim has submitted proposals that would expand voting rights and authored the Boston Trust Act, which prohibits Boston police officers from detaining residents based on their immigration status. He currently serves as the chairman for both the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Rights and the Council’s Special Committee on Transportation, Public Infrastructure, Planning and Investment.
In your current role, what change or reform have you made that has had the greatest impact on residents?* I authored and sponsored the Boston Trust Act, the legislation that not only made Boston a Sanctuary City, but also has improved the relationship and communication between law enforcement and the city’s immigrant communities. This illustrates the importance of being a forward-thinking progressive.
What’s the single most important thing that a Secretary of State should do to improve voter access in Mass.? The most important is same-day registration. It was a shame and a missed opportunity last year when Secretary Galvin appealed a court ruling calling the 20-day registration unconstitutional. Without that appeal, we would almost certainly have same-day registration in place for this year’s primary.
Give us two ways you are different from your primary opponent. A commitment to expand voting rights. Galvin’s had 24 years to do this but opposed/ignored it until this year, conveniently. Embracing innovation. There is a real threat of Russian election tampering, and there’s no one dedicated to cybersecurity in the Secretary’s office. I’ve proposed changing that.
Where (and when) did you eat the best meal you’ve had in Boston? One of my favorite summer activities is eating lobster rolls at James Hook with my wife, and grabbing ice cream from JP Licks on the walk home.
Anthony M. Amore
The sole Republican running for secretary of state, Amore, 51, has worked at the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, primarily on security at Logan Airport in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But the Swampscott resident is perhaps best known as director of security for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the last 13 years, as well as investigating the museum’s storied 1990 theft of nearly half a billion dollars worth of art. He previously served on the Swampscott Historical Commission and is now entering his second term as a town meeting member.
In your current role, what change or reform have you made that has had the greatest impact? It would be improper for me to discuss changes I’ve made to security at the Gardner Museum. However, in the field of cultural property protection, my work has led to a dramatic shift in the way security and law enforcement professionals understand the threat posed to their institutions.
What’s the single most important thing that a Secretary of State should do to improve voter access in Mass.? A Secretary of State should work to move the Massachusetts primaries to the spring. This will increase turnout in the primaries and give candidates in the general election more time to articulate their contrasting visions. This has the collateral benefit of a more informed voter.
Give us two ways you are different from your opponents. First, I am not a career politician driven by personal ambition. Rather, I have dedicated my life to public service in the public and non-profit sectors. Second, I am the only candidate who is a security expert. I worked to successfully rebuild security at Logan Airport after 9/11, and at the museum at which the world’s largest property theft occurred. I can do the same to safeguard our elections.
Where (and when) did you eat the best meal you’ve had in your hometown? My family and I have had countless great meals and happy times at Yan’s China Bistro in Swampscott.
Read more from the Globe about this race and its candidates:
An asterisk (*) notes campaign representatives said they filled out the survey questions on behalf of the candidates.
The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff.
It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.