Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown are locked in a tight race for the MA Senate. In an attempt to boost Warren’s odds of winning, voter registration forms will be sent to the nearly 500,000 people on welfare.
These mailings cost the state more than a quarter of a million dollars to send.
The welfare system’s get-out-the-vote push came in response to a suit brought by New England United for Justice (NEU4J), which is led by three former leaders of the controversial Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now. ACORN was disbanded in 2010 amid a voter fraud scandal.
The suit was filed after a 35-year-old Lowell woman recertified her benefits at a Lowell welfare office last June and “was not offered the opportunity to register to vote at any time during her visit; nor was she offered a voter registration application,” according to papers filed in U.S. District Court.
NEU4J, along with the NAACP New England Area Conference, reached an agreement with the state on July 5 — just two months after the suit was filed.
The deal requires state officials to contact the 477,944 welfare recipients who were on the books between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. The mailings will cost the state $275,844.
The state must also run public service announcements on TV and radio stations from mid-July through mid-October publicizing the agency’s registration push. And welfare office waiting rooms, which will soon be equipped with TVs, must make announcements explaining how to register to vote.