MassGOP Rigging Ensures Coakley Victory

Posted April 17th, 2014 by Iron Mike

Nothing is so obvious as a rigged convention and a rigged vote!  Mark Fisher’s lawsuit will cause MassGOP officials to tell their dirty secrets – or lie under oath.
Coakley Wins
This circus paves smooth Martha Coakley’s road to the Corner Office, – because as bad as she is – voters expect their Democrats to be corruptRead the excerpt from Mark Fisher’s attorney letter to the MassGOP below the fold – – or read the entire letter.

Every hour of this puts the stink of insider corruption squarely on Charlie Baker!
Charlie Baker rigged vote

Hey Charlie – the press will have a FIELD DAY with this. They love to expose phony and corrupt Republicans!

MassGOP Back Room

As the trial goes forward, – you’ll be PRAYING for a chance to debate Mark Fisher on TV, – instead of reading your name connected to a rigged vote!

Baker with Weld Betrayal

Why are you so afraid of debating Mark Fisher? Why was it ‘necessary’ to rig a convention and a vote?
DeVito  MassGOP or Baker's Man

– – – – – – – – – EXTRACT – – – – – –

In sum, Mr. Fisher’s position is as follows:

1. The vote was invalid because blanks were included in the total vote count when they should not have been. There was no rule that authorized it and Robert’s Rules of Order prohibits it. The State Committee did not follow its own rules.

2. The vote was invalid because delegates who were not present were counted as blanks. That would account for the huge differential between the roll call vote and the count from the final review. By counting as blank votes those delegates who were not present at the convention, the State Committee again did not follow its own rules.

3. The vote was invalid because the Fisher was effectively deprived of his right under Convention Rule to seek a reconsideration of the vote under Rule 21. This was yet another instance of the State Committee not following its own rules.

4. The vote was invalid because proper chain of custody procedures were violated.

5. The vote was invalid because of Attorney DeVito’s involvement in the process.

6. The vote was invalid because the decision to use blanks in the vote total was not timely announced to Fisher’s representatives and was contrary to what they had been told on the previous day.

– – – – – – – – – FULL LETTER [4 Pages] – – – – – –

RRB Readers please NOTE: The MassGOP chose to keep this letter SECRET from the 80-Member State Committee….  It was revealed in open court.   WHAT are they afraid of…?

April 13, 2014

General Counsel
Massachusetts Republican State Committee
85 Merrimac Street – Suit 400
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Fisher v. Mass. Republican Party et al
Suffolk Superior Court C.A.14-1072A

Dear General Counsel:

I represent Mark Fisher in the above referenced lawsuit against the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, Chairman Kirsten Hughes and Executive Director Robert Cunningham. This concerns what occurred at the Massachusetts Republican State Convention on March 22, 2014. I send this letter to you via the Defendants’ attorney and in compliance with Rule 9.3 of the Rules of the 2014 Massachusetts Republican State Convention.

Rule 9.3 provides as follows: “Legal Issues. Any legal issues arising in connection with the Convention shall be referred to the General Counsel of the State Committee.”

From Mr. Fisher’s perspective, there are multiple legal issues that arose at the Convention. In this regard, I enclose three affidavits for your review which have been filed with the court. These are: Affidavit of Spencer Kimball, Second Affidavit of Spencer Kimball, and Affidavit of Deborah McCarthy.

The first legal issue is whether it was appropriate to include blanks in the final vote count. Mr. Fisher’s representatives were told by Mr. Cunningham on the day prior to the convention that they would not be counted.

Convention Rule 11 states: “The Party Chair shall determine the method and order of voting for each vote or election during the Convention.” The Defendants might argue that Rule 11 could be interpreted to mean that Ms. Hughes, the Party Chair, determined whether blanks were to be included in the final vote count. That would seem to be a stretch of an interpretation. Whether blanks were to be included in the final vote count can hardly be considered part of the “method and order of voting.” Regardless, Ms. Hughes was quoted by the news media as saying that blanks do not get counted.

Subsequent to the convention, State Committee Member Steven Zykofsky, the Chairman of the Rules Committee, who developed the Convention Rules, also stated unequivocally to the news media that blanks should not have been counted in the final tally of votes in determining whether a candidate received 15% of the votes.

Yet, 64 blanks were counted in the final vote count. Because of them, Mr. Fisher was prevented from obtaining the 15% Convention vote which would have permitted him, pursuant to Rule 6.1, to have his name on the gubernatorial Republican primary ballot in September.

Mr. Fisher’s position is that the blanks should not have been counted in the final vote. Mr. Fisher’s representative, Spencer Kimball, made numerous timely objections to the appropriate authorities at the Convention in this regard.

The Convention Rules are silent on the issue of the blanks. But Rule 23 provides, in part: “Parliamentary Authority. The parliamentary authority for the Convention in any and all matters not covered by these Rules shall be the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.”

In the Robert’s Rules of Order section on voting, Article VIII, section 46, states in part:

“When a quorum is present, a majority vote, that is a majority of the votes cast, ignoring blanks, is sufficient for the adoption of the motion……;” “All blanks are ignored as simply waste paper, and are not reported….;” “In reporting the number of votes cast and the number necessary for election, all votes except blanks must be counted.” Moreover, nowhere in Robert’s Rules of Order does it say that there are occasions when blanks should be counted toward the total vote.

The reference to Roberts Rules of Order would seem to resolve the issue. Blanks should not have been counted.

And Convention Rule 17 would appear to provide additional evidence that blanks should not have been counted. That rule states:Disqualified Votes. A vote cast for any ineligible candidate or for any candidate who was not nominated and seconded in accordance with these Rules, or for any candidate who is removed from further consideration in accordance with these Rules, shall not be considered as a vote cast by a delegate present and voting, and shall not be included in determining the whole number of votes cast for any purpose of these Rules.”

Rule 17 shows that when a voter indicates no intent to vote for an eligible candidate, then that vote is not to be used in determining the whole number of votes cast. It follows that

voting “blank,” which similarly indicates no intent to vote for an eligible candidate, should also not be used in determining the whole number of votes cast.

The second legal issue regards whether blank votes were improperly counted for those delegates who were not present at the time of the voting. The roll call vote, broadcast throughout the Convention hall, showed that there were 2,095 votes for Charlie Baker, 376 votes for Mark Fisher and 10 blank votes.

Subsequently, in the back room, where the tally sheets were being reviewed, it became evident that two different districts had mistakenly included blank votes for delegates who had not been present at the Convention. In the first instance, one tally sheet stated right on it that the blanks were for those who were not present. In the second instance, State Representative Vincent DeMacedo stated that he included blank votes for delegates who were not present because he thought that was what was supposed to be done. Rule 11 states, in part, “There shall be no voting by proxy…” and both Rule 16 and Rule 17 refer to delegates “present and voting.” The parliamentarian properly excluded those blanks as votes at Mr. Kimball’s request and over Attorney Vincent DeVito’s objections. But, among all the tally sheets, those were the only ones that Kimball was ever permitted to see.

Those incidents were red flags indicating that there was some confusion among district representatives about the proper accounting of blanks. Accordingly, Republican officials overseeing the election should have been wary of additional problems in that regard. Yet, when the final counting of the tally sheets showed that Baker received 2,095 votes, Fisher received 374 votes, and there were 64 blanks – 54 more blanks than was stated in the roll call vote – alarm bells should have gone off. Monitors, and possibly delegates, should have been called in and questioned regarding the blanks. Certainly, despite Mr. DeVito’s objections, Mr. Kimball’s reasonable request to see the paperwork which was the source of the 54 additional blank votes should have been honored. But it was not. The vote was not by secret ballot so there is no apparent reason why Mr. Kimball’s request was denied.

Fisher’s position is that, under the circumstances, the Republican State Committee officials overseeing the election should have allowed Kimball to inspect the documentation that was the source of the 54 additional blank votes.

The third legal issue concerns Kimball’s request for a re-count or reconsideration. At the time he was first informed of the final vote count, which showed that there were 54 more blanks than there were in the roll call vote, the convention had already closed. When he then asked for a re-count or reconsideration, the parliamentarian denied his request, stating that a recount or reconsideration required a 2/3 vote of the delegates present and that was impossible because the convention had already closed.

Rule 21 provides, in part: “No vote shall be reconsidered during the Convention except after the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the delegates present and voting upon a motion for reconsideration of the vote.” Kimball was not provided the opportunity to have the Convention consider his request for a recount because when he was told of the final vote count, the Convention had already closed.

The Republican State Committee’s closing of the convention before informing Kimball, Fisher’s representative, of the vote total, and thus effectively preventing him from seeking a reconsideration of the vote, was a violation of the Convention Rules.

The fourth legal issue regards chain of custody. According to Debora McCarthy’s affidavit, tally sheets were taken off the convention floor during the voting. Mr. Kimball registered timely objections regarding this and requested that another vote be taken from that district. His reasonable request was denied.

The fifth issue pertains to the activities of Attorney Vincent DeVito at the Convention and whether they were legal. He was sitting on stage during the Convention and during Fisher’s speech and appeared to be a neutral Republican Party official. It was known that he was General Counsel of the Republican State Committee and may have still been so on the day of the Convention. Yet later that day, in the back room, he was making objections on behalf of the Charlie Baker campaign.

Mr. DeVito is now an employee of the Baker campaign and perhaps he was so on the day of the Convention. It is true that Mr. DeVito announced himself as a Baker representative when he first entered the back room, but an investigation should be undertaken regarding his conduct. Was he earlier involved in making any legal rulings? Did he participate in transferring the tally sheets to the back room? When was he first hired by the Baker campaign? Was he a paid employee of the Baker campaign on the day of the Convention?

A sixth legal issue concerns the timing of the Republican State Committee’s decision to use blanks in the final count. If the Executive Director thought they would not be used in the final vote tally, and if the Chairman thought they would not be used, then who made the decision to count them? And when was that decision made? And what was the authority for that decision? Was Mr. DeVito, as an official of the Massachusetts State Republican Party, involved in that decision? Or, was he involved in that decision as an employee of the Baker campaign? An investigation should be conducted in this regard.

In sum, Mr. Fisher’s position is as follows:

1. The vote was invalid because blanks were included in the total vote count when they should not have been. There was no rule that authorized it and Robert’s Rules of Order prohibits it. The State Committee did not follow its own rules.

2. The vote was invalid because delegates who were not present were counted as blanks. That would account for the huge differential between the roll call vote and the count from the final review. By counting as blank votes those delegates who were not present at the convention, the State Committee again did not follow its own rules.

3. The vote was invalid because the Fisher was effectively deprived of his right under Convention Rule to seek a reconsideration of the vote under Rule 21. This was yet another instance of the State Committee not following its own rules.

4. The vote was invalid because proper chain of custody procedures were violated.

5. The vote was invalid because of Attorney DeVito’s involvement in the process.

6. The vote was invalid because the decision to use blanks in the vote total was not timely announced to Fisher’s representatives and was contrary to what they had been told on the previous day.

Article IX, Section 1, of the Bylaws of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee states: “The State Committee shall have final approval of all matters relating to the conduct of the convention.” Based on that provision, it is clear that the Massachusetts Republican State Committee is authorized to take corrective measures regarding the vote.

In addition, the counting of the votes which, in violation of the Convention Rules, improperly included blanks in the total vote count, was still occurring after the Convention closed. Thus, the counting was not a part of the Convention’s activities. A new count can therefore now be taken without counting the blanks.

Consequently, Mark Fisher requests that you counsel the State Committee that, because of multiple violations of its own rules, and/or because Mr. Fisher did obtain 15% or greater of the Convention vote pursuant to Rule 6.1, it should certify to the Secretary of State’s Office that Mark Fisher is entitled to have his name placed on statewide ballots in a Republican primary election for the office of Governor in September, 2014..

Please advise me, through Defendants’ counsel, of the intentions of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee regarding the issues raised in this letter. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Thomas M. Harvey

Enc.

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Massachusetts Republicans please NOTE: Any money you have sent or plan to send to the MassGOP will have to be used to pay their legal fees being run up by the day on this needless lawsuit.

As we’ve been telling you for YEARS – don’t send them a DIME!

Give money ONLY to worthy candidates you’ve met, know, and trust. Until these SKUNKS are driven out of the MassGOP – any money sent there is a waste!

8 Responses to “MassGOP Rigging Ensures Coakley Victory”

  1. Vic

    Thanks for posting, Iron Mike. This whole affair stinks to High Heaven. Worried the guilty parties will now run down the clock and blow another election cycle.

  2. Rabid Republican Blog − MassGOP Rigging Ensures Coakley Victory | Clinton Ma Tea Party

    […] http://rabidrepublicanblog.com/2014/04/17/massgop-rigging-ensures-coakley-victory/ […]

  3. Casey Chapman

    What we all need to do, is to write in Mark Fisher’s name on the ballots. I am willing. Even if he doesn’t win, they’ll receive the message loud and clear. I am not holding my breathe that it will change their behavior, but at least they’ll know we are not pleased.

  4. sad4magop

    What is not surprising is that the people who run the Massachusetts Republican Party are stupid and corrupt. We all know that. What is surprising is that otherwise intelligent human beings serving on the State Committee actually put up with this embarrassing behavior. Wake up people! We lose because we are led by losers.

  5. Sherox

    Everyday, in every way, the MAGOP prove themselves to be the idiots we know them to be.

  6. sad4magop

    If you read the 14 page decision that came down from the Judge on Friday, you can see that he basically calls Kirsten Hughes a liar. A dope and a liar – the perfect qualifications to be Chair of a Party as poorly run as any in the country.

  7. rbaker

    sad4magop, could you please post Friday’s decision or provide a link.

    Thanks.

  8. Iron Mike

    COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
    SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT
    CIVIL ACTION
    NO. 14-1072-A
    ________________________
    MARK FISHER,
    Plaintiff,

    vs.
    THE MASSACHUSETTS REPUBLICAN STATE COMMITTEE et al.1
    Defendants.
    ________________________

    MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON
    PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

    This elections case raises important and unresolved issues concerning the constitutional rights of a political party and proper role of the courts. Plaintiff Mark Fisher (“Fisher”) claims that he received enough votes at his party’s Convention to qualify for the State Primary, only to be denied access to the ballot in violation of Massachusetts Republican Party (“Party) rules because of a decision by Party officials made after it was too late to appeal to the Party’s Convention. Fisher asks the court for a preliminary injunction ordering the Party to certify his qualification so that he can collect signatures and meet the deadlines that apply to active candidates of a political party. Because Fisher’s candidacy does not face imminent harm, but cannot wait much longer, the Court DENIES a preliminary injunction at this time but will order an expedited trial on the merits.

    1 Kirsten Hughes, Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party, and Robert Cunningham, Exeuctive Director of the Massachusetts Republican Party.
    2

    PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
    By Amended Complaint dated April 7, 2014 (“Complaint” or “Compl.”), Fisher challenges the decision of the Party and two of its officials that Fisher did not receive the necessary 15% or more of votes at the Party’s State Convention to qualify for placement on statewide ballots as a candidate for Governor at the Republican primary in September, 2014. Mr. Fisher has requested a preliminary injunction, among other things, ordering the Massachusetts Republican State Committee to “certify to the appropriate State authorities that the Plaintiff, Fisher, obtained 15% or more of the vote at the Republican State Convention on March 22, 2014, and is therefore entitled to have his name placed on statewide ballots in a Republican primary election for the office of Governor in September, 2014.” (The application shall be referred to as the “Motion”)
    The court held a hearing on the preliminary injunction on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. It appreciates the amicus submissions from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, received on April 15, 2014 and on April 16, 2014, from numerous others.2

    FACTS
    Based upon the abbreviated record – and subject to full consideration at a hearing on the merits – the Court preliminarily finds the following facts for purposes of the Motion only.

    The Fisher Campaign’s Ballot Access Efforts
    Fisher, a resident of Shrewsbury, seeks the Republican Party’s nomination as its candidate for the office of Governor of Massachusetts. He created the “Committee to Elect
    2 The amici include Richard A. Baker, Jr., a registered Republican and delegate to the 2014 Republican Convention, former Attorney General Thomas A. Riley, and a Republican convention delegate and former Republican candidate for statewide office, Michael J. Sullivan.
    3
    Fisher for Governor” on November 22, 2013, has been campaigning and has lent or donated approximately $187,000 to his campaign committee.
    Charles Baker (“Baker”) is the only other Republican candidate for Governor in Massachusetts in 2014.
    Caucuses for the Party’s State Convention began on January 11, 2014. On January 19, 2014, defendant Kirsten Hughes, the Chair of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee (“Hughes”), stated that the Party would change a $25,000 fee for gubernatorial candidates who wished to speak at the Party’s State Convention in Boston on March 22, 2014. Fisher paid the fee and submitted a certificate of his willingness to accept the endorsement of the convention, pursuant to Article 4, Section 12(c) of the Rules. Pursuant to the Rules, all delegates to the Party Convention were registered Republicans on or before December 1, 2013, who were selected from three sources: Town or Ward Committees’ elections (Rules 2.1.1); ex officio delegates holding positions in local, state or federal government (Rules 2.1.2(i) through (iv), (vii) – (ix)); and direct appointees (totaling 350 in number) of various Party officials (Rules 2.1.2(v) and (vi)). Delegates were then grouped into forty districts, corresponding to Massachusetts State Senate districts, each of which had a monitor, responsible for receiving the votes from the chair of each town and ward chair. Rule 10.
    The governing rules for the State Convention are set forth in the Rules and the Procedures. Rule 9.3 states that “[a]ny legal issues arising in connection with the Convention shall be referred to the General Counsel of the State Committee.” Under Rule 11, “[t]he Party Chair shall determine the method and order of voting for each vote or election during the Convention . . . . and will provide a method of verifying the vote or of polling of delegates as he or she deems necessary.” However, rules 4.2 and 11 prohibit proxy voting. All delegates must
    4
    be physically present to vote. Rules 5 and 16. The residual source of rules, as Rule 23 states is Robert’s Rules of Order:
    The parliamentary authority for the Convention in any and all matters not covered by these Rules shall be the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order. The decision of the Parliamentarian on any point of order or question of procedure shall be final and binding, subject only to appeal by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Convention.
    The Rules provide for two outcomes for the candidates. The first is “endorsement,” which goes to “[a]ny candidate who receives a majority vote of the Convention delegates present and voting in accordance with these Rules . . ..” Rule 5. See also Rule 16. The second outcome determines a non-endorsed candidate’s eligibility or non-eligibility to participate in the state primary election. Rule 6. Key to resolution of the issues in this case is the so-called 15% Rule, Rule 6.1, which reads:
    Minimum Vote. Only candidates who receive 15% or greater of the Convention vote on any ballot for a particular office may challenge the Convention endorsement for that office in the state primary election [currently inapplicable exceptions omitted].
    The Republican Party Convention occurred on March 22, 2014. That morning, according to Spencer Kimball, attorney for Fisher (“Kimball”), defendant Robert Cunningham, the Party’s Executive Director (“Cunningham”) told Debra McCarthy, Fisher’s campaign manager and Kimball, that blank votes [sic] would not be counted in determining whether a candidate had received a vote of 15%. Cunningham denies this. Fisher’s version is at least plausible, given the rules against counting blanks (discussed below) and the Chair’s initial understanding (later recanted).3 On the afternoon of March 22, approximately 15 minutes before the speeches by gubernatorial candidates, Cunningham provided an updated list of “newly appointed” delegates, which also removed certain other delegates.

    3 The Chair denies that she initially stated that blanks cannot be counted.

    5
    Pursuant to the Rules, each district chair recorded the votes for governor from his or her district and handed in signed tally sheets to the convention chair. The tally sheets contained columns for “Baker,” “Fisher” and “Blank.” The district chairs then each announced the votes by official roll call to the convention chair. This process was recorded on video and audio recording devices.
    At about 3:30 P.M. on the afternoon of March 22, 2014, the unofficial roll call vote (see Balloting Procedures at 2) documented that Fisher had received 376 votes (15.15%), that Baker had received 2095 votes (84.44%) and that 10 votes were recorded as “blank” (.4 %).

    After announcement of the unofficial roll call vote, Kimball went to the tally desk to challenge rule violations. After review of some of the tally sheets in the tally room, a Party representative informed Kimball that the number of “blanks” had increased to 64, instead of the 10 blanks announced during the official roll call.
    There is a conflict in the testimony of the various players as to what happened in the tally room at that time.

    Kimball states that he challenged the Party’s allowing two Baker supporters on the State Committee to take several tally sheets into a closed room prior to or during the roll call without a Fisher representative present, in violation of the rules. After those Baker supporters had reviewed the tally sheets behind closed doors in a private room, those sheets were eventually brought into the back room. In the back room, Bernard Green, an authorized Fisher Campaign representative, was allowed to be present (and was later replaced by other authorized Fisher Campaign representatives), but was unable to monitor the full scope of the 40 tally sheets being reviewed by eight people appointed to conduct the review. Kimball’s request to see the tally sheets was denied. He then asked Cunningham for a tally of the sheets. Kimball states that
    6
    Cunningham looked at the sheets, wrote the tally on a piece of paper and then put that page into a paper shredder.
    Kimball states that he was not told the final vote tally until approximately 5:30 or 6:00 P.M, by which time the convention had already closed. He asserts that he asked to review the documentation, but was denied by the Parliamentarian. Later, he asked for a recount. The Parliamentarian denied his request, stating that a recount or reconsideration would require a 2/3 vote of the delegates present, and that a recount was impossible because the convention had already closed.

    The affidavit of Parliamentarian, George A. Balko III tells a different tale. He states that the Baker and Fisher campaign each raised three challenges that could not be resolved in an expedited fashion at the tally desk. He therefore went to the tally room, accompanied by observes from the two campaigns. Bernie Green, a Fisher observer stated that the counting had been done acceptably so far, which has the ring of truth because, at that point, Fisher appeared to have the necessary 15% of the vote. In the presence of Mr. Balko and a Baker representative, Kimball challenged the blank votes on two tally sheets. He then asked for all ballots to be reviewed and recounted. The Parliamentarian ruled against the request for three reasons, including untimeliness, lack of an observation by a campaign observer, and the absence of authority in the Rules for a recount. He made no ruling denying Kimball’s request to see where the additional 54 blanks came from, as “it would not have been within my authority.” He did deny Kimball’s request to see all of the tally sheets within the context of asking for a recount. He stated that blank ballots “are not within the proscription stated in Rule 17 and thus, in my opinion as parliamentarian, to be counted in determining the total votes cast in the election.” Balko Aff. ¶ 24. He denied stating that a reconsideration or recount was impossible because the
    7
    convention had already closed. Indeed, he denies making “any statement about the convention already being closed.”
    For preliminary injunction purposes, Kimball’s version is at least plausible, given the vigor with which the Fisher campaign sought out information before the Convention and actively pressed its objections when it knew of the facts during the Convention.
    Soon afterwards, a Party representative stated that Baker had received 2,095 votes, Fisher had received 374 votes and that 64 blanks had been recorded. By that count Baker had received 82.64% of the vote, Fisher had 14.77% and blanks amounted to 2.52%.
    According to the plaintiff’s papers, on March 22, Hughes told the news media that “blanks” had not been counted in the final vote tally and that “You can’t count blanks toward a bottom line. That’s not how it goes.” She later retracted. Hughes denying making the initial statement. After the convention, the Chair of the Party’s Rules Committee, who developed the Convention Rules told the media that blanks should not have been counted in determining whether a candidate received 15% of the votes.
    Fisher contends that counting blanks violates Robert’s Rules of Order (incorporated in Rule 23) and Rule 17, which states:
    A vote cast for any ineligible candidate or for any candidate who was not nominated and seconded in accordance with these Rules, or for any candidate who is removed from further consideration in accordance with these Rules, shall not be considered as a vote case by a delegate present and voting, and shall not be included in determining the whole number of votes cast for any purpose of these Rules.
    Timeline For Candidates

    The Court takes judicial notice of the following facts concerning campaign deadlines from the Secretary of State’s Pamphlet entitled “A Candidate’s Guide to the 2014 State Election
    8
    (Revised Edition, January 2014), available at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele (last visited April 10, 2014) (“Guide”).

    Party candidates for state wide offices must submit nomination papers to local election officials for certification of signatures” by 5:00 P.M. on May 6, 2014. Guide at 4. Local election officials must complete certification of signatures by May 27, subject to review of non-certified signatures, if requested by a candidate, until June 2. Id. A candidate for Governor must submit nomination papers containing 10,000 certifiable signatures. Id. at 6.
    “Furthermore, non-party candidates for the state election cannot have been enrolled in a political party between . . . . March 4, 2014 (if they are a candidate for federal or statewide office) and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.” Id. at 12. It is, therefore too late for Fisher to run as a non-party candidate. The only way for him to achieve placement on the general election ballot is through election at the Republican primary.
    State primaries are scheduled for September 9, 2014. Id. at 5.

    On April 11, 2014, the court entered an order inviting amicus submissions “particularly on the question whether there is an avenue by which Mr. Fisher may obtain any necessary signatures on nomination papers for the 2014 Republican Primary without certification to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by the Republican Party itself.” The Secretary responded promptly, on April 15, 2014, as follows (at 2):
    In order for Mr. Fisher to qualify to have his name printed on the ballot as a candidate for the state primary ballot for the Republican nomination for the office of governor, he must have satisfied Republican state party rules in addition to state law requirement. Statewide candidates must meet both party qualifications and state law requirements contained in chapter 53 of the General Laws to qualify for ballot placement at the state primary. See, Langone et al v. Secretary of the Commonwealth, et al., 388 Mass. 185 (1983) [footnote omitted].
    9

    Accordingly, in answer to the Court’s question, it is the position of the Secretary that a certification from the State Republican party that Mr. Fisher has satisfied party rules to be a candidate for the nomination for the office of governor is a necessary precondition to have his name printed on the Republican state primary ballot.
    The Secretary’s amicus submission (at 2, n.1) also notes the following additional requirements:
    Under the provisions of chapter 53, party candidates for governor must also file the following to qualify for ballot access: a) nomination papers containing the certified signatures of at least 10,000 registered voters (G. L. c. 53, § 44); b) his or her written acceptance (G. L. c. 53, § 45); c) an enrollment certificate showing the candidate has met the enrollment requirements (G.L. c. 53, § 48); d) a receipt from the State Ethics Commission verifying that the candidate has filed a statement of financial interest pursuant to chapter 268B (G. L. c. 53, § 9); and e) a receipt from the director of campaign and political finance verifying that the candidate has filed a statement required under section 1A of chapter 55C (G. L. c. 53, § 9).
    June 3 at 5:00 P.M. is the deadline for filing all of these nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Guide at 4.

    After argument on April 16, the Amicus, Secretary of the Commonwealth emailed an additional amicus submission to the clerk of this session. That submission reads:
    Per our conversation, below please find a link to the filing deadlines for candidates to qualify for ballot access for the upcoming state primary.
    http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2014-primary-and-election-calendar.pdf

    The deadline for party candidates for statewide office to file their nomination papers and other required paperwork (as outlined in our April 16th letter to the court) with this office is 5:00 pm on June 3rd.

    Please note that under federal law, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee voting Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq. (“UOCAVA”) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, Pub. L. No. 111-84 Subtitle H, §§ 575-589, 123 Stat. 2195, 2318-2335 (2009) (“MOVE ACT”), absentee ballots must be transmitted to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before each federal election, including the upcoming state primary. Accordingly, for the September 9, 2014, state primary, all UOCAVA ballots must be transmitted by Saturday, July 26, 2014. However, this Office requires sufficient time to prepare and print those ballots and therefore any delays beyond the statutory deadlines would compromise our ability to meet these federal law requirements.
    We just wanted the Court to be aware of the deadlines relative to ballot access for the plaintiff in Fisher v. Massachusetts State Republican Committee, et al., CA 14-1072-A.
    10
    I hope this information is helpful and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Michelle K. Tassinari
    Director/Legal Counsel
    Elections Division
    One Ashburton Place, Room 1705
    Boston, Massachusetts 02108

    While the court mentioned the possibility of a trial within 60 days, it thus appears that even less time is available for decision by this court, let alone by the appellate courts.

    DISCUSSION
    I.
    A party seeking a preliminary injunction must prove a likelihood of success on the merits of the case and a balance of harm in its favor when considered in light of the likelihood of success. Packaging Indus. Group, Inc. v. Cheney, 380 Mass. 609, 616-617 (1980). Where public rights may be affected, the Court must also account for potential harm to the public interest. Commonwealth v. MassCRINC, 392 Mass. 79, 89 (1984). See O’Brien v. Brown, 409 U.S. 1 (1972) (per curiam) (weighing “the public interests that may be affected by” an order regarding the seating of delegates to the Democratic National Convention).

    Timing is everything in a case like this. “One … is not entitled to seek [injunctive] relief unless the apprehended danger is so near as at least to be reasonably imminent.” Shaw v. Harding, 306 Mass. 441, 449-50 (1940). “In the context of a preliminary injunction the only rights which may be irreparably lost are those not capable of vindication by a final judgment, rendered either at law or in equity. Id., 380 Mass. at 617 n.11.

    II.
    Elections cases typically involve very significant time pressures and strong prospect that candidates, voters or political parties will lose rights before the underlying case can be
    11
    adjudicated. See id.; The Republican State Central Committee of Arizona v. The Ripon Society, Inc., 409 U.S. 1222 (1972) (Rehnquist, Circuit Justice). The equities strongly favor injunctive relief during the pendency of litigation if necessary to “preserve[] [the] issues for review in a manner conducive to careful study and consideration . . ..” Ripon, at id. See O’Brien, 409 U.S. 1 (entering relief that “will not foreclose the Convention’s giving the respective litigants . . . the relief they sought in” court). That is not yet necessary here.
    By no later than May 6, Fisher must submit 10,000 qualified signatures on nomination papers bearing his name and that of the Republican Party. Obtaining those signatures cannot wait, as fewer than 3 weeks remain. While a candidate collecting signatures must, among other things, list the name of his Party on the nominating papers, there is no explicit requirement of Party certification to the Secretary of the Commonwealth before obtaining signatures:

    Every nomination paper shall state in addition to the name of the candidate, (1) his residence, with street and number thereof, if any, (2) the office for which he is nominated, and (3) the political party whose nomination he seeks. This information . . . shall be stated on the nomination papers before any signature of a purported registered voter is obtained and the circulation of nomination papers without such information is prohibited.
    * * *

    Whoever knowingly subscribes falsely to a statement on a primary nomination paper shall be punished . . .
    G. L. c. 53, § 45. The letter submitted by the amicus, Secretary of the Commonwealth, does not suggest that Fisher lacks the ability to obtain signatures for the Republican Primary without certification by the party.

    Given the events at the Convention, the position of the Amicus Secretary, statements by the defendants at oral argument, and the Court’s forthcoming ruling on the Motion to Dismiss, Fisher’s campaign can, in good faith, collect signatures on nomination papers bearing the name
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    “Republican” as “the political party whose nomination he seeks.” At this time, as long as Fisher can collect signatures, denial of preliminary relief to Fisher will not end his candidacy.

    There is time to adjudicate the parties’ rights on the merits before harm of an irreparable nature occurs. If Mr. Fisher obtains the necessary signatures by May 6 on the merits, then the Party and voters intending to register as Republicans for primary voting purposes will need to know his eligibility as a primary candidate well in advance of the September 9 primary date. There is no apparent need to fix that status now, nearly five months in advance. The court and parties can devote time to adjudicate Fisher’s claims before then. Indeed, if Mr. Fisher has earned the required 15% of vote at the Convention, the Party – defined as those who adopted and agreed by the Rules – arguably benefits from compliance with its Rules and the opportunity to consider a candidate who qualified for the ballot.
    Moreover, the Party has an intangible interest in avoiding judicial orders, although that right is not absolute. There is a “large public interest in allowing the political processes to function free from judicial supervision. . ..” See O’Brien v. Brown, 409 U.S. 1 (1972). Withholding a preliminary injunction at this relatively early stage respects that interest until it becomes necessary, if ever, to order injunctive relief on the merits. In the meantime, the court will not supervise the gathering of signatures, certification by local officials, voter registration or any other matter related to the state primary.
    In addition, Mr. Fisher’s rights to view the tally sheets and other documents is protected for now, because the court has preserved the opportunity to adjudicate the significance of the tally sheets and vote totals — applying written rules adopted and drafted by the Party itself, not by the courts.
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    Mr. Fisher also asserts that his campaign is harmed by the “cloud” that hangs over his candidacy due to the defendants’ actions. He has submitted no affirmative proof of that sort of injury. Although it is not hard to imagine such an effect, the court cannot weigh it without proof.
    In any event, that kind of atmospheric harm does not warrant court intervention at this point, where the legal deadline for obtaining Party certification has not yet arrived. Even if the court were to issue the preliminary injunction, that would not give additional assurance to any well-informed person, because a preliminary injunction could be dissolved after a decision on the merits. Any definite statement about his placement on the primary ballot must await adjudication on the merits. To the extent that any pronouncement by the court at this point about the viability of Fisher’s claims is appropriate, it is limited to ruling on the motion to dismiss and the related assessment of his likelihood of success, as set forth in part III below.

    III.

    While the balance of harms only matters if the plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, the court’s initial assessment of the merits demonstrates much to be said on both sides. As noted in the Facts recited above, Fisher has a reasonable likelihood of proving the facts alleged in the Second Amended Complaint. The legal principles discussed in the forthcoming Court’s Memorandum of Decision and Order on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) support his likelihood of success. The court therefore does not deny preliminary relief on the ground that Fisher lacks a sufficient likelihood of success to warrant a preliminary injunction.
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    CONCLUSION

    For the above reasons, the Application for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED without prejudice to renewal at a date when irreparable harm is imminent. The Case shall be expedited for trial.
    ________________________________
    Dated: April 18, 2014 Douglas H. Wilkins
    Associate Justice, Superior Court

    _________________________________________
    NOTE: Exact formating from the pdf is beyond my skills….

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