Massachusetts voters yesterday voted for several elected positions, including county sheriff.
In April 2022, the ACLU of Massachusetts launched its “Know Your Sheriff” campaign. While the ACLU does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office, the campaign set out to inform voters about the role of sheriffs, the life-changing decisions that sheriffs make, and how voters can move sheriffs to make communities safer and more just for all. It builds on the organization’s successful “What a Difference a DA Makes” campaign.
Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement:
“For too long, sheriff races have been ignored and uncompetitive. This year, we committed to building voter awareness—and as a result of our ‘Know Your Sheriff’ campaign, civil liberties and public health were central in contested sheriff races across the state. Voters delivered an unequivocal verdict last night: Massachusetts wants sheriffs who center public safety and justice by supporting individuals and strengthening communities. Make no mistake: Massachusetts voters are now paying attention to their local sheriff.”
Olivia Santoro, community outreach strategist at the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement:
“For the last several months, the ACLU’s ‘Know Your Sheriff’ campaign has helped drive a meaningful conversation about the role sheriffs play and the life-changing decisions they make. But the work doesn’t stop on Election Day: In order to ensure safety and justice for all, we must hold elected sheriffs accountable. We are all safer when these elected officials support and invest in people, not punishment.”
A January 2022 poll commissioned by the ACLU showed a lack of knowledge among Massachusetts voters about the roles and responsibilities of sheriffs. Fewer than one-in-five voters (17%) could correctly name their local sheriff. Nearly half (41%) did not know that sheriffs are elected, while 90% did not know that a sheriff’s term is six years.
Since its official launch, the “Know Your Sheriff” campaign has worked in partnership with organizations across the state to bring information to voters, including through ten public education forums, candidate forums in contested counties, candidate questionnaires, and direct voter outreach in Bristol and Barnstable counties through phone banks, mailings, and more.
In the 2022 primary election, there was a 129% increase in ballots for sheriff cast in Berkshire County, a 126% increase in Essex County, a 122% increase in Suffolk County, and a 73% increase in Hampshire County since the last primary for county sheriff in 2016.
For more information about “Know Your Sheriff,” go to: https://www.aclum.org/knowyoursheriff