The Associated Press

Brown: Welfare Voter Enrollment Effort Aids Warren

BOSTON — Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is faulting Massachusetts officials for agreeing to send out voter registration letters to nearly half a million welfare recipients as part of a court settlement.

In a statement Wednesday, Brown portrayed the effort as an attempt to give Democrats an advantage in the November elections, including his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren.

Warren campaign manager Mindy Myers called Brown’s claim “bizarre.”

The letters cost about $276,000 to send and were part of an agreement the state made after several groups filed a lawsuit in federal court.

The lawsuit argued that Massachusetts was failing to comply with a federal law requiring people to have the opportunity to register to vote when they sign up for public assistance.

“I want every legal vote to count, but it’s outrageous to use taxpayer dollars to register welfare recipients as part of a special effort to boost one political party over another,” Brown said in a written statement.

“This effort to sign up welfare recipients is being aided by Elizabeth Warren’s daughter and it’s clearly designed to benefit her mother’s political campaign,” Brown added.

Warren’s daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, sits on the board of the New York-based think tank Demos, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states.

Warren’s campaign disputed Brown’s claims, saying the 1993 National Voter Registration Act requires states to designate as voter registration offices those state offices that provide public assistance.

The law is known more commonly as the “motor voter” law because it also made it easier for people to sign up to vote when visiting Registry of Motor Vehicle offices.

“Let’s be very clear — Republican Scott Brown’s baseless attack on Elizabeth’s daughter is ridiculous. His entire attack is built on efforts in multiple states to enforce a law passed almost 20 years ago with bipartisan support,” Myers said.

“For Brown to claim this is some kind of plot against him is just bizarre,” Myers added, saying Warren is very proud of her daughter’s efforts.

The lawsuit was also pushed by New England United for Justice, which describes itself as a non-partisan organization working to “educate low income families on how their voice impacts our communities through voting.”

The story was reported by the Boston Herald on Wednesday.

State officials defended the decision to send out the voter registration letters, saying it was necessary to comply with federal law. The state has also agreed to run public service announcements and equip welfare office waiting rooms with television screens explaining how to vote.

“Voting is one of the most important civic duties and helping our agencies comply with the National Voter Registration Act is a top priority,” Executive Office of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Marilyn Chase said in a statement.

Brown said the effort to register more welfare recipients “means that I’m going to have to work that much harder to get out my pro-jobs, pro-free enterprise message.”

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  • Cab02149

    Mr. Brown is like wallpaper. For decoration only. No substance whatsoever.

    This we don’t need.

  • Jamaica

    Considering voter fraud has been virtually non-existant, this is a non-issue relative to other ‘real’ issues in this country/world

  • Joe Albiani

    whether its poll taxes, voter id laws or any other impediments to voting the GOP seems dedicated to limiting the vote. Why are they so afraid of letting the people vote? Abraham Lincoln, who was for expanding the voting franchise to women in the 1830’2 and blacks in 1865 would not recognize what his party has become – an elitist organization meant to keep power in the hands of the wealthy and away from the common folk. Its perfect for the philosophy of Romney and Brown and their ilk who see America as the land of individuals rather than opportunity for all. Until we recognize that we are all one and stop separating by class we will continue our downward spiral. Welfare recipients are described negatively with no sense of compassion for those who have been dealt a difficult hand to play. But a lack of compassion is what conservatism has become, following the lead of Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan and others who think of those less fortunate as something they scraped of the bottom of their Gucci shoes.

    • susanowens

      Exaggerate and dramatize  much? Everyone knows who is “separating by class “. Please pay attention.

  • Collfritze

    Everyone has the right to vote in this country, Mr.Brown

  • jwon412

    “Brown said the effort to register more welfare recipients “means that I’m going to have to work that much harder to get out my pro-jobs, pro-free enterprise message.”” Is Brown complaining about having to work harder to get out his message about…working harder?


    Being able to fill out and signing a voting ballot and then pulling the proverbial lever to vote for our representatives, is definitely a basic right in our democracy – which the government is obliged to provide to their citizens as easily and verifiably as is possible.

    But the same token, someone shouldn’t have to produce and and be forced to fork over a valid DMV picture ID to some official person from that particular municipalities’ locality; in order for them to then allow that firefighters to hook up and turn on the hoses and put out the fire at your home (or have the power to decline to do so).

    I have no doubt whatsoever that these new voting laws are being pushed for and finally enacted primarily by those pols who are not concerned in the slightest why the people affected may have no ID at all. And also believe that these same pols are being entirely disingenuous, regarding the ‘proven to be fantasy claims’ of the likelihood that rampant ‘multiple voter’ fraud is currently prevalent in any of their districts.

    My concern is for folks who don’t have legitimate ID, not because they do not WANT one; but may not know exactly how to apply or cannot afford to send away for their birth certificate or pay for the DMV photo ID itself.

    Or they may need transportation and/or assistance filling out the forms and obtaining providing any required documents Not having any verifiable identification can make life much infinitely more difficult, not just with regards to these new voter laws; but being able to actually function sufficiently within our society nowadays.

    Regarding citizens’ new voting-related requirements. I totally agree with that your statement’s premise: that it is a fact that many, many poor, minority and senior citizens do not have; and therefore cannot produce even a basic photo ID, which is a very bad thing indeed.

    However, also I believe that – as a society – we are we should also be very concerned about as well as possibly come to offer some more assistance to anyone out there who does not actually have either the knowledge, financial means or the wherewithal to be able to apply for, keep and carry around a basic photo ID in the first place.

    One cannot even accomplish even very basic undertakings in our modern society; such as enter a bank and open an account or cash a check, apply for a lease, register your children for school, apply for needed senior-related financial and medical government benefits and literally dozens of other basic things in the modern world without being able to produce a current (as well a legitimate) photo ID.

    Not having an ID can severely jeopardize a person’s ability to do many of these things – not just be able to cast a ballot in states that require a citizen produce one beforehand. Therefore I think it would also be more prudent to place more of the emphasis on offering more assistance to these fine folks; as well as addressing their voting rights, responsibilities and requirements.

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