Mass. Secretary Of State Bill Galvin Sworn In For Historic 8th Term

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Expanding supports for survivors of domestic violence, building up a more robust civics education curriculum and convincing lawmakers to authorize same-day voter registration stood atop Secretary of State William Galvin's to-do list as he quietly set out Wednesday on a record an eighth, and possibly final, term.

After once again cruising to reelection in November with nearly 68 percent of the vote, Galvin took the oath of office that positioned him to become the longest-serving secretary of state in Massachusetts history in a private ceremony, joined only by his wife, Eileen, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Gov. Maura Healey, who administered the oath.

Galvin, a Brighton Democrat first inaugurated in 1995, will surpass former Secretary Frederic Cook's record of 28 years holding the post. Asked if the achievement brought any new meaning to the start of his latest term, Galvin replied, "Not really. As you know, most of my predecessors served for a long time as well."

He said he feels "a certain urgency has been added to the whole issue of domestic violence," pointing to an event he hosted in December alongside district attorneys to highlight a program his office runs to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking relocate and make their addresses confidential.

"None of us could have conceived all of what's happened since, not just the [Ana] Walshe case but so many other instances," Galvin said. "Expanding those programs and perhaps getting into other aspects of it -- clearly what we do, what we've done successfully, is relocate people who have made the decision to escape their abusers -- but I think there's a big problem here."

"I think we have to do a lot more. We just can't attack it as a ho-hum, 'well, it's a part of life' situation," he added. "That's certainly a priority for me in the new term."

Other areas of focus Galvin mentioned include civics education, which he said can help counter a trend of "election denialism," and a previously stalled reform that would allow prospective voters to register and cast a ballot in the same trip to the polls.

Massachusetts law currently doesn't allow eligible but unregistered people to register and vote once an election is ten days away. 

Written by Chris Lisinski/SHNS

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