The Mayoral Campaigns Already Fighting—Over A Place In Line

As they compete over signatures, the mayoral campaigns fight to be first to City Hall in the morning.

This is what it’s come to: representatives of mayoral campaigns battled for early-bird status this morning, lining up in front of City Hall with signature papers in hand waiting for officials to open the building for business at 7:45—only to find themselves beaten by the Mike Ross staffer who had camped inside.

[Clarification: This was not written as clearly as it should have been. The Ross staffer did sleep in the office, but then came downstairs in the wee hours to get on line at Dock Square, where she waited exactly as everyone else did.]

As mayoral candidates seek to ensure their place on the ballot via 3,000 certified signatures, the one-signature-per-registered-voter rule has made it imperative to get signature sheets to the elections department as quickly as possible, so that your scrawl from John Q. Public will get counted before election officials see it on a competitor’s sheet.

Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. is the deadline for submitting signatures, and campaigns were out in force over the weekend. Hence the scramble at the door in dawn’s early light—and the Ross aide’s sneaky wee-hours access.

Some competing campaigns are mumbling for a penalty flag. They say that elected officials among the mayoral pool have been using their after-hours access to City Hall to cut the line.

In fact, the Boston Election Department did send a gentle reminder 10 days ago to the campaigns, to “remind” candidates of the procedure for lining up at the Dock Square entrance pre-7:45 a.m. The email, which I have obtained, does not specify any issue with councilors camping out, but does ask: “Please be respectful of your fellow candidates, and if they were ahead of you in line at the Security Desk, those positions in line should be honored when you reach the Election Department.”

Well, soon it’ll all be over but the counting. Lord knows how long that’s going to take, with the dozens of candidates trying to get on the ballot for mayor and city council races. The elections crew has generally impressed me with their speed on that task, but they’ve never faced a challenge like this.

Meanwhile, there are all manner of rumors about who is supposedly going to make it and who isn’t (and who is supposedly paying for signature-gathering and who isn’t). Some of it might come down to the wire—which means you can expect a pre-dawn lineup in front of City Hall again tomorrow.