Episode 106: PAC It Up, PAC It In

31 minutes

11/6/19-- Communities scattered throughout Massachusetts held elections on Tuesday. One of those communities was Boston, whose newly elected City Council makes history as its most diverse yet, with 7 people of color and 8 women making up the majority of the 13-person council. The fourth-highest vote-getter among the at-large candidates, Julia Mejia, won her seat by a margin of only 10 votes, prompting fifth-place finisher Alejandra St. Guillen to call for a recount. Stephanie Murray noted, “10 votes could be a couple of absentee ballots; it could be a broken voting machine; it could also be one of those ballots where you vote for too many candidates and then your ballot gets thrown out altogether.”

Last month, reports revealed a Super PAC with close ties to Governor Charlie Baker raising money for local candidates across the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Majority Super PAC raised $1 million, and funded candidates like Monica Medeiros for Mayor of Melrose and Jennifer Nassour for Boston City Council, both these and other candidates supported by the PAC were endorsed by Baker. Boston Business Journal digital editor Gintautus Dumcius reported on this PAC, telling The Horse Race that it really got going in May 2019, when the split between then-recently elected MassGOP chairman Jim Lyons and Baker began to widen. Speaking about the MassGOP, Dumcius said, “Now that there is a top Trump person in charge in Jim Lyons, we’ve seen that break grow and grow, and it seems like this super PAC is trying to fill the gaps.

The 2012 Right to Repair ballot question passed into law the following year, and now, the coalition that proposed it is returning with a potential ballot question for 2020 that would update the current law. WBUR reports the law would include a provision mandating that, beginning in model year 2022, manufacturers that sell cars in Massachusetts be outfit them with a “standardized and open access platform” that would make data about the car’s performance available to the car owner as well as dealerships and independent repair shops. Conor Yunits is a spokesman for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, and he says the proposed bill would make drivers vulnerable to breaches of privacy. Yunits told The Horse Race if the bill were to pass, “That really exposes information to hackers, criminals, bad actors, foreign companies, anyone that’s looking to get real-time location data and other information on people that are driving their vehicles.”

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