With one week until Election Day, the ACLU of Massachusetts is continuing its efforts to encourage voters to make a plan to vote and to empower them to vote down ballot.  

“From county sheriff to local district attorney, your vote will reflect the values you want to see in your community and country,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Voting in your state and local elections can make a difference for you and your community; our local elected officials have a direct impact on protecting and bolstering key civil rights and liberties. Leave no box unchecked.” 

In April, the ACLU of Massachusetts launched the “Know Your Sheriff” campaign, a statewide voter education initiative. While the organization does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office, the “Know Your Sheriff” campaign seeks 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.  

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, and candidate questionnaires. In recent weeks, since the primary election, the “Know Your Sheriff campaign” has led get-out-the-vote efforts, contacting thousands of voters in contested counties through phone banks, mailings, digital outreach, and more.  

“The fight for our rights starts in the towns, cities, and states we call home,” said Olivia Santoro, community outreach strategist at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “From controlling conditions inside jails to increasing treatment options for mental health and substance use, sheriffs can set and carry out policies that make our communities safe and just for all. This November, voters can hold elected officials—including sheriffs—accountable to advocate for the rights of all.” 

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. The same poll shows that after learning more about sheriffs, 71% of voters said they are very likely to vote in the next election for local sheriff, a 26-point increase from the start of the survey (45%).

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