January 07, 2006

Stolen Signatures

Has everyone been keeping up with the stolen signatures drama?

Essentially, paid signature-collectors tricked people into signing anti-gay-marriage stuff making them think it was either about getting wine in grocery stores or it was pro-same-sex-marriage.

That's a summary, although I guess most of you have heard about it.

Anyhow, this is the first article I've read that has pretty good quotes and explanation from people who were actually deceived in this scheme. This is a digusting, disgusting move from the right.

Two examples from the story:

When Shaune Barry of Shrewsbury got a call from MassEquality saying her name was on the list of signers she was disappointed but not surprised. Months prior at the Stop & Shop in Westborough Barry was approached by a petition gatherer who, as with Kennedy, said she was collecting signatures for the wine petition. Barry agreed to sign it."I signed one petition, [and] she said, 'Can you sign another petition for our other store in Westborough?'" said Barry. It sounded like a harmless enough request, and she signed without reading the second petition. In talking about the petition afterwards with her brother, who is gay and an active member of the Human Rights Campaign, he warned her that she may have been tricked into signing the marriage petition. The call from MassEquality confirmed it.

"My brother's gay, so I'm certainly not happy that I was duped into signing this," said Barry, 49. "I was appalled. I think it was deceitful and deceptive."

here's another one:
When Victoria Ellis of Somerville got a call from MassEquality saying she was on the list of signers, she was disgusted. In October she had had a confrontation with a signature collector outside the Target in Somerville who she said tried to trick her into signing the marriage petition. Like Kennedy and Barry she said she was lured in by the wine petition, and after she signed it the petition gatherer asked her to sign a "back-up copy". When she read the so-called copy, she discovered it was in fact the marriage petition. Enraged, she tore the petition from the clipboard and walked off with it, warning some other signers to read the "back-up copy" before signing as she left.

A friend of hers put her in touch with MassEquality, and working with them she wrote and signed an affidavit detailing the incident that was submitted to the Joint Committee on Election Laws. The affidavit included a copy of the marriage petition sheet that she had taken from the clipboard of the signature gatherer. Ellis also testified before that committee at on Oct. 18 hearing on the fraud allegations.

Since the marriage petition she signed was in her own possession, she was disturbed to find her name on the list of signers.

"I don't know how it happened, but I suspect that they just transferred my name from one [petition] to the other. I think my first [reaction to finding out my name was on the petition] was, 'You're kidding,' because after testifying and all of that, how is that even possible?" said Ellis. "It's really audacious for somebody to do this. I'm disgusted."

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