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A fraud lesson from MA to ME & beyond

One day in 2005 while shopping in a Watertown, MA mall, a young lady approached me to sign a petition that would allow grocery stores all over MA to sell wine. “Great!” I thought. It was a pain in the arse and time consuming to store hop. She asked me to sign one form then flipped the page up for me to repeat my information.

     As I looked at the second form, it became clear that I was not signing what she told me I would be signing. I was about to petition away my rights to gay marriage! I quickly scribbled out my information on the front page and told the girl, in so many words, she should be ashamed of herself. Soon after, Fox News did an undercover report on the fraud happenings (I know, I was shocked but pleased with my Boston Fox channel's actions!) 

     It was found that a company called Arno Consulting was heading the petition drive. They were reportedly training people how to bait-n-switch then flying these signature gatherers all over the US, paying them per signature obtained. In exchange for mailing lists, the MassGOP was found to have also helped with the signature drive. Even though 50,000 of the signature were found to be fraudulent, the vote on gay marriage still went to the ballot box.

     Petition fraud happened in California in 2007 where poor people were fed in exchange for their signatures and quite frankly it happens all of the time, everywhere. This is why it is so important that we are able to see the names of the people who helped sign away our rights and to know one of the people is not you!

     Anyone caught in such scams should be prosecuted like any other fraudster and the entirety of their petitions should be thrown into the trash. Push wherever you can for the transparency of these groups leading petition drives and demand accuracy and responsibility… because your rights truly do depend on it.

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