DONALD F. HUMASON JR.
WESTIELD – State Sen. Donald F. Humason Jr., R-Westfield, said Dec. 11 he took exception to remarks made by State Secretary Frances Galvin.
Although Galvin called Humason’s resignation letter “worthless,” because it lacked specific language Humason said he was not aware was necessary, Humason sent a new version of the letter that day. Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, reacted quickly and a special election date is set for March 31.
According to a Masslive article, Galvin said Humason’s resignation letter could not be used to call a special election and its intent was to delay the special election and suppress voter turnout.
Humason, Westfield’s mayor-elect, will be sworn-in Jan. 6, 2020, with nearly one year left to his Senate term. The special election process is triggered when a resignation is sent to the Senate. Only the Senate can schedule a special election for a senator.
Humason sent his resignation, dated Dec. 4, to Spilka. Galvin said that because Humason did not use the word “irrevocable” and stated his letter was his “intent to resign,” it could not be considered his resignation.
Humason sent another letter at the Senate’s request, using the word “irrevocable.” However, Humason said Galvin’s harsh remarks were the first time he heard that the letter must be phrased using specific language.
When asked if resigning senators are given guidelines regarding resignation letters, Galvin’s spokesperson Debra O’Malley said that “most people just ask” what they should write. She said Humason, to her knowledge, never asked.
Humason said he asked the Senate and added that Galvin has nothing to do with setting the special election.
“I did ask, and no one told me I had to use that word,” Humason said.
Humason sad he would “have a conversation” with Galvin, adding that his remarks were “uncalled for.”
Galvin cited a Supreme Judicial Court case from 2004 that dealt with the resignation of former state Sen. Chery Jaques as the reason for the necessity of the word “irrevocable.”
Humason said he is not attempting to suppress votes, and, in fact, he believes what Galvin is doing is voter suppression.
“I think he made this partisan and he accused me of doing something I didn’t do,” Humason said.
Galvin wants to have the special Senate elections March 3, the same day as the Democratic presidential primary. Humason said this would not draw many Republican voters. Instead, Humason supports a March 3 senate primary with a March 31 special senate general election.
O’Malley said that Galvin and his staff want to save towns money by having it March 3. She also said it takes several months to plan for a special election.
“Communities will already have the polls open,” she said, adding that having two primaries the same day would mean more poll workers, another set of ballots and additional check-in and check-out tables.
Humason’s letter included a reflection of his six years as a senator.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Massachusetts Senate and to represent the residents of the Second Hampden & Hampshire District,” he wrote. “My time in the Senate has been deeply fulfilling and I hope to have assisted in creating a better Commonwealth for all of its citizens.”