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Gov. Charlie Baker weighs in on Massachusetts mail-in voting lawsuit during Springfield visit

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaking at the South End Community Center in Springfield.
Nirvani Williams
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaking at the South End Community Center in Springfield.

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments today on whether or not mail-in voting violates the state constitution.

Massachusetts Republican party Chairman Jim Lyons and others have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the mail-in voting elections reform bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law in June — making permanent an option that was made possible to voters during the pandemic.

They are arguing that the bill violates the state constitution's allowances for absentee voting. Baker says he supports the law.

"The only way to get an answer to the question about whether or not it's constitutional is to sign the law, much of which I support, and put it in front of the SJC and let them make the call," he said.

Baker made his comments during a visit to Springfield Tuesday to discuss evening summer youth programming in the city. He said he thinks it's appropriate for the state's highest court to take this case on now, so that it gets resolved before elections are underway this fall.

Baker also addressed the charges filed against a Republican congressional candidate and former state senator Dean Tran, saying they should be "thoroughly and fully vetted."

Tran, of Fitchburg, was indicted last week on charges he stole a gun from an elderly constituent and then attempted to mislead investigators.

When asked about the indictment Tuesday, Baker first expressed confusion about the charges. Told what they were, he called them serious.

"I hope and anticipate that that process will play itself out in a reasonable period of time so that when voters have to make a decision in the fall they have some idea about what the story is in regards to that," he said. "That's a serious charge and it should be treated that way."

Tran called the charges — which were filed by state Attorney General Maura Healey — "untrue and categorically false." He accused Healey, a Democratic candidate for governor, of trying to derail his campaign for Congress.

This report includes information from State House News Service.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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