UPDATED: Framingham State Representative Seat Ballot Could Be Decided By Just 18 Democrats

FRAMINGHAM – Democrats will meet Sunday night to decide what to do with their party’s primary ballot for the 6th Middlesex state representative seat held by the late Chris Walsh.

Rep. Walsh was the only Democrat to submit the required signatures to be on the September 2018 primary ballot. Rep. Walsh, who was first elected in 2019, was seeking re-election in November.

Rep. Walsh was the only name certified to be on the ballot in September, according to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office.

There are no Republicans and no Libertarians on the primary ballot.

As Rep. Walsh died, before the ballot could be printed, his name will not appear on the ballot.

Deborah O’Malley, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office, said the Framingham Democratic Town Committee needs to make a choice, if they wish to hold a caucus to place a name on the Democratic primary ballot.

More than 50 percent of Massachusetts voters are not enrolled in a political party, also known as “unenrolled” voters.

Framingham is no different.

The City of Framingham now has more than 40,000 registered voters, and 22,189 are unenrolled, said City Clerk Valerie Mulvey. There are 3,453 Republican voters registered and 14,538 Democratic voters registered.

The 6th Middlesex District is also controlled by unenrolled voters. There are 15,366 voters in the district with no political party affiliation. There are 9,196 registered Democratic voters and 2,566 registered Republican voters.

Editor’s Note: In full transparency, I live in the 6th Middlesex District. I am registered as an “unenrolled” voter.

Even though the district is controlled by those with no political party affiliation, the Democrats may have the final say in placing the lone name on the ballot to replace Rep. Walsh. And that vote to start the process could happen on Sunday night.

The deadline to file signatures with the state has passed. The deadline was May 1.

Rep. Walsh lost his battle with cancer on May 2.

“Democrats have the option to replace his name on the ballot,” said O’Malley.

The members of the Framingham Democratic party, explained O’Malley, can vote to hold a “caucus.”

If the vote is in the affirmative, then Framingham Democrats can elect delegates to vote on one name to place on the primary ballot.

O’Malley said there is a complicated formula to determine the number of delegates, based on the number of Democrats who voted in the 2014 gubernatorial election. She said for every 500 registered Democrats who voted in November in the gubernatorial election in 2014, one delegate can be elected from the 11 Precincts that make up the district in Framingham. Some Precincts may have one delegate and some may have more.

Those Precincts are 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15.

O’Malley said Framingham Democrats can elect 18 delegates for the special caucus, if they decide to choose that option.

The delegates elected must reside in the Precincts they would represent.

The Caucus can only select one individual to appear on the September Democratic primary ballot, said O’Malley.

However, if two candidates each receive 9 Delegate voters or 3 candidates each receive 6 Delegate votes, and a tie can not be broken, then no names would appear on the ballot, and all candidates would have to run write-in campaigns in the Democratic primary.

If Framingham Democrats votes to have a caucus, the election of the 18 Delegates can not happen until 5:01 p.m. on May 29, and must take place before June 6.

“There is a very short window,” said O’Malley. “Can’t begin until after 5 p.m. on May 29, and a name must be submitted to the state by 5 p.m. on June 6.”

The Delegate election and the vote by the 18 elected Delegates must take place between May 29 and June 6. (Memorial Day is Monday May, 28.)

Even if Framingham Democrats hold a caucus, and the 18 Delegates elect one individual to appear on the ballot, if does not prohibit others from running write-in campaigns still.

 

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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