I think the saying goes "never let a crisis go to waste." We are seeing that shabby doctrine in effect in some proposed Massachusetts election law changes.

If you aren't available to go to the polls and vote on an election day in Massachusetts, you can ask for an absentee ballot. The local elections office in your city or town will mail you a ballot and you can mail your vote in and never have to go to the polling place or even leave your home.

This vote-by-mail system has been operating in Massachusetts for as long as I can remember and it has been conducted mostly without problems. Want to vote in a local election, you can do it by mail. Want to vote in a state primary, you can do it by mail. Want to vote for the president, you can do it by mail.

But in this COVID-19 crisis, there are smart people who are figuring out how a change in the rules can give them an edge in the next election. Obviously, they have the best interest of the public in mind – they believe electing their preferred candidate is in the public's best interest.

One proposal is to just mail ballots to every single registered voter in the Commonwealth regardless of if the voter asked for it or not. Democrats and Republicans would get a primary ballot for their specific party election. Registered voters who aren't in a political party would get multiple ballots, one for each legal political party at the time of the election. The unenrolled voters would then decide what to primary to vote in and mail back that one ballot and keep the other ballots or give them away or throw them away. There is no way to know what will happen to the thousands of ballots not mailed back.

See any problems with this new idea?

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app