June 29th, 2004


Bostonians: a plea for help this week & weekend

I'm volunteering with a group of people collecting signatures for a civil liberties ballot question in Massachusetts. The whole thing was actually my idea to begin with, that came out of a conversation I had with someone at a Dean meetup a few months ago. I brought him to the next monthly meeting of the MA ACLU Civil Liberties Task Force, where we presented the idea, they were enthusiastic, and we formed a group to do it, officially called the Massachusetts "Citizens' Initiative for a Safe and Free America". You can read more about it at http://aclu-mass.org/ballot/

It took us over a month to figure out the rules and procedures for this kind of petition, get the wording of a question that the deputy attorney general said he would approve, develop materials for people to use in gathering signatures, and get those materials out to volunteers. By the time we really got going, in early June, we had only a month to go. The deadline is July 7th.

This question will get on the ballot in any state house district where we gather 200 or more valid signatures, from registered voters who live in that district. We've got a good shot at getting on the ballot in a number of districts in the metro Boston area, including some in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont. But the deadline is looming very close, and it's very likely that we'll come close but not quite make it in a number of those districts.

Fortunately, we have a great opportunity: Fahrenheit 9-11. On Sunday I and a couple of other people spent 6 hours in front of the movie theater in Harvard Square and got hundreds of signatures (though, obviously, they weren't all for the same district). Another group of people had similar luck at the Coolidge Corner theater. Today I went back to Harvard Square with someone else and got a lot more signatures. If we can keep this up, we will qualify for the ballot in a good number of districts.

Unfortunately, to be able to keep it up, we need more volunteers. This is something that's fun to do in groups of 3 people but nearly impossible to do alone. To get small groups of 2-3 people petitioning together, we desperately a few more volunteers within the next 7 days - that will make all the difference in how many districts we get on the ballot in.

If you can help, call me, or email me, any time. Please also email Marilyn at the ACLU office, cltf2004@yahoo.com

Help help help! We're so close, we can do it, we just need a few more people to volunteer some time.

[ I originally sent this post in by email, and it got stuck in LJ's queues. Sometime within the next week or two, they'll notice that post-by-email is broken, they'll fix it, and my original version of this post will reappear in my journal. When I notice the duplicate, I'll delete it. ]

P.S. Wednesday we'll be petitioning outside the theater in Harvard Square, on Church Street, 4pm-11pm. Ken Thomson will get there around 4pm to start, I'll join him not long after, and we'd love to have other people join us, even only for a couple of hours. The more of us there are, the more fun it is. We register voters, too.