Western Mass. businessman Cesar Ruiz, one of the state’s first-ever elected Latinos and the president and CEO of Golden Years Home Care, is urging Massachusetts to adopt electronic signatures as a means for candidates to access the ballot statewide in constitutional offices.
As a result of the pandemic, the Massachusetts Supreme Court in a ruling in 2020 allowed the gathering of electronic signatures needed by candidates to see their name on the ballot for election. The ruling was temporary, and Ruiz is advocating for this to be made permanent. Ruiz announced the formation of a group, Citizens for Transparency, to lead the effort to bring about this change and to support other initiatives that encourage enfranchisement of voters and those attempting to gain ballot access.
Ruiz and his business are based in Western Massachusetts, and he will be calling on the Western Massachusetts delegation to file legislation immediately to make the 2020 ruling on electronic signatures permanent.
“We hear so much in the political discourse today about inclusion and enfranchising all in the electoral process,” he said. “The sad truth is, as we see around the nation with voter suppression legislation being enacted and the failure of Washington to pass a voting rights bill, that there is still a very long way to go. The Commonwealth should immediately adopt the use of electronic signatures to provide more access to the ballot for those seeking office.
“How in good conscience can any reasonable elected official oppose a ruling that was implemented during the height of the COVID pandemic to leverage technology to help candidates access the ballot?” he went on. “Our elected officials often preach inclusion in our electoral system and this is an opportunity to put those words into action. Citizen and candidate participation are the cornerstones of a healthy democracy, and I look forward to working with the Western Massachusetts legislative delegation and other sponsors to file and pass this legislation this year.”
Ruiz, who was recognized by the Massachusetts State Senate for being the first Latino ever elected at large in Massachusetts history, said another avenue would be for Secretary William Galvin to permanently adopt the 2020 ruling.
Ruiz was elected at age 25 as the first Hispanic in Springfield on the School Committee, and served until 1986.
Golden Years Home Care was named Entrepreneur of the Year for 2020 by BusinessWest magazine. Ruiz was also featured by Hispanic Executive, a publication spotlighting business’s most influential Latinos.