By Annalise Freimarck
Boston University News Service
As the Massachusetts midterms approach, canvassers for the Fair Share campaign have been increasing their canvassing efforts in local neighborhoods to sway voters to vote yes on Question one on the ballot.
Question one proposes a state constitutional amendment to tax 4% percent more to Massachusetts residents making over $1 million in annual income. The funds gained from the tax would be used to support public education and public transportation.
According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the tax would affect around 24,000 households out of 3.5 million in the state. Opponents of the tax argue that the amendment would be one of the largest tax hikes in state history that would unfairly affect residents.
Fair Share’s Massachusetts branch was created in 2015 with help from Raise Up Massachusetts, a group of residents who aim to support working-class families. The Fair Share Amendment was advanced by Congress in 2019, and then the Constitutional Convention voted to put it on the 2022 ballot.
Margaret Hughes and Allison Petrecino, both staff of the Massachusetts campaign, said they headed out to canvass Newton neighborhoods on Oct. 25 as just one part of their efforts to get the tax to pass.
They both continued knocking on doors far after it was dark, zig-zagging from house to house to have a productive conversation with the resident. They then marked off if the resident had been spoken to on a canvassing app to help track the campaign’s efforts.
Hughes, Regional Organizing Director for the Fair Share campaign, said growing up in a wealthy neighborhood influenced her decision to work for the campaign.
She said while she received a good education because of her parents’ income, she believes that socioeconomic status should not determine whether residents have access to quality education or accessible public transportation.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that the very, very wealthiest people in our state who can afford to pay just four cents more on the dollar on their income, over a million dollars, are not paying their fair share right now when the roads that I drove on to get here are falling apart,” she said.
Hughes first canvassed over 10 years ago for LGBTQ+ issues.
Petrecino, Suburban Boston Organizer for the campaign, is also a long-term canvasser. She said she has canvassed countless times and canvassed for the Fair Share campaign around eight to 10 times.
Petrecino said she believes that canvassing door-to-door is one of the best ways to reach voters.
I think it’s easy to ignore a phone call from someone you don’t know,” she said. “It has a lot of value in helping people make up their minds when they’re unsure.”
She also said she believes showing up to canvass on a weeknight shows residents how paramount the tax is to pass.
“You can talk [residents] through why it’s important to you personally and why you’re out here on a Wednesday night instead of at home curled up with your cat,” she said. “That has a lot of sway with people.”
The Fair Share campaign will continue its canvassing efforts up until election day Nov. 8.