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William Galvin (Secretary of the Commonwealth)

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William Francis Galvin
William f galvin.jpg
Massachusetts Secretary of State
In office
1995 - present
Term ends
Years in position 20
PredecessorMichael J. Connolly (D)
Base salary$130,262
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 8, 1994
Campaign $$4,783,967
Term limitsNone
Bachelor'sBoston College (1972)
J.D.Suffolk University Law School (1975)
Date of birthSeptember 17, 1950
Place of birthBrighton, Massachusetts
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website

William Francis Galvin (b. September 17, 1950, in Brighton, MA) is the current Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Galvin was first elected to the statewide position on November 8, 1994, and was sworn into office the following January. He is now serving his sixth consecutive term, having won re-election in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. In the 2010 race, Galvin ran unopposed in the primary and easily fended off challenges from Republican William C. Campbell and Independent Jim Henderson in the general election, which took place November 2, 2010.[1]

Because Massachusetts does not impose term limits on its secretaries of state, Galvin was eligible to run for re-election again in November 2014.[2] After mulling a possible bid to replace Martha Coakley as state attorney general, Galvin announced in October 2013 that he would run for a sixth term as secretary of state instead.[3] Galvin was uncontested for the Democratic nomination in the September 9 primary, and faced challenges from David D'Arcangelo (Republican) and Danny Factor (Green-Rainbow Party) in the general election on November 4, 2014. Galvin won the general election on November 4, 2014.

Before assuming the role of secretary of state, which is Massachusetts' principle public information official, Galvin served 15 years as a state representative to the Massachusetts General Court from the Allston-Brighton district. He left the post in 1990 in order to campaign for election as state treasurer. Although he won the Democratic primary, he lost in the general election.


Galvin is a native of Brighton, Mass. He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a law degree from Suffolk University.

Galvin began his political career in the midst of attending law school, working as an aide to the Governor of Massachusetts's Council. In 1975, the same year he graduated from Suffolk University Law School, he won a special election to the Massachusetts General Court as a state representative from the Allston-Brighton district. Galvin held onto that position until 1990 when he won the Democratic Party's nomination in the race for treasurer; he was later defeated in the general election by Republican Joe Malone.[4]


  • Bachelor's degree, Boston College (1972)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Suffolk University Law School (1975)[4]

Political career

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (1994 - present)

Galvin was elected to Secretary of the Commonwealth in 1994. He has won re-election five times since - in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Galvin has been an active participant in the National Association of Secretaries of State, serving first as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Securities, then as Co-Chairman of the Committee on Presidential Primaries.[4]


Senate seat certification
See also: U.S. Senate special election, Massachusetts, 2010

Following the death of long-time Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy, in August 2009, a special election was to be held on January 19, 2010, to determine who would take up the seat held by governor-appointee Paul G. Kirk, who had agreed not to run in the contest. In the midst of the special election campaign, health care reform came to the forefront of the national debate. The United States Senate version of the health care measure barely passed on Christmas Eve 2009 with a 60-vote majority, strictly on party lines. The loss of just one vote would seriously jeopardize efforts to pass the joint House and Senate version of the bill. This put the Massachusetts special election in the national spotlight. The Democratic primary winner, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who had flipped-flopped on the issue of health care during the course of the campaign, said that she would likely support the passage of health care reform. Scott Brown, the Republican candidate, on the other hand had said that he planned on being the 41st vote to kill the measure.

With this in mind, the Democratic leadership, both nationally and within the state of Massachusetts itself, were prepared to delay the certification of the winner of the special election in order to pass health care reform in the Senate should Brown be elected. While a spokesman for Galvin's office suggested that the "certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor's Council would take a while," another source indicated that Galvin would not certify the winner of the election, should it turn out to be Scott Brown, "until Feb. 20 - well after the president’s [State of the Union] address."[5]


Massachusetts state law dictates that an appointed senator, in this case Paul Kirk, must remain in office until election and qualification of the person duly elected to fill the vacancy. Republican Party attorneys argued, however, that "an appointed senator’s right to vote is not dependent on whether his successor has been certified." In other words, following the special election, Kirk might have lost the right to cast a vote on behalf of the state of Massachusetts in the United States Senate, even if a recount, which can only occur "if the margin of victory is less than half a percent of the total vote,"[6] was enacted.

On the eve of Scott Brown's historic election victory, Democratic Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who, in 2006, unseated Republican incumbent George Allen, released a statement in which he said "it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated."[7]

Nearly two and a half weeks after his historic victory in Massachusetts, attorneys for Senator-elect Scott Brown demanded the certification of the special election results and the swearing in of their client prior to the Congressional recess beginning on Friday, February 5, 2010, six days earlier then originally scheduled.[8] Presided over by Vice President Joe Biden, Scott Brown was sworn in as a United States Senator at 5pm on February 4, 2010.[9]

UOCAVA violation

As Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Department of Justice found Galvin to have acted in violation of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 2002, failing to report and collect the number of sent and returned absentee ballots from overseas military personnel registered to vote in the state of Massachusetts. Following an investigation by the United States Department of Justice in 2008, a settlement was reached to force Galvin to comply with the law.[10]



See also: Massachusetts secretary of state election, 2014

Galvin ran for 2014 re-election as secretary of state. He won the Democratic nomination without opposition in the primary on September 9, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.[11][12]


Secretary of State of Massachusetts, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam Galvin Incumbent 67.4% 1,395,616
     Republican David D'Arcangelo 28.9% 597,491
     Green Danny Factor 3.6% 74,789
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,421
Total Votes 2,069,317
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of State.


See also: Massachusetts Secretary of State election, 2010
Massachusetts Secretary of State, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam F. Galvin Incumbent 64.5% 1,420,481
     Republican William C. Campbell 32.7% 720,967
     Independent Jim Henderson 2.8% 61,812
Total Votes 2,203,260
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

  • 2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary
  • William Galvin ran unopposed in this contest


Galvin defeated Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein, a medical doctor and environmental health advocate who ran for governor in 2002, in the November general election.

Massachusetts Secretary of State, General Election, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam F. Galvin Incumbent 72.9% 1,546,582
     Green Jill E. Stein 27.1% 574,388
Total Votes 2,120,970
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

In the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary, a controversy came to the forefront over Galvin's refusal to debate John Bonifaz, his opponent. This story made headlines in the Boston Sunday Globe.[13]

Massachusetts Secretary of State, Republican Primary, 2006
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam F. Galvin Incumbent 83.1% 633,035
John Bonifaz 16.9% 129,012
Total Votes 762,047
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.


Massachusetts Secretary of State, General Election, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam F. Galvin Incumbent 74% 1,472,562
     Republican Jack E. Robinson, III 26% 516,260
Total Votes 1,988,822
Election Results via [1]

  • 2002 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary[14]
    • William Galvin ran unopposed in this contest

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Galvin is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Galvin raised a total of $4,783,967 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[15]

William Galvin (Secretary of the Commonwealth)'s Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Not up for election $306,522
2010 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Won $1,175,081
2008 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Not up for election $815,877
2006 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Won $814,983
2004 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Not up for election $658,382
2002 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Won $719,797
1998 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Won $293,325
Grand Total Raised $4,783,967


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of William F. Galvin's donors each year.[16] Click [show] for more information.


Galvin currently resides in Brighton, Massachusetts with his wife, Eileen, and their daughter, Bridget.[4]

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Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1611
Boston, MA 02108-1512

Phone: (617) 727-7030
Toll Free Phone: 1-800-392-6090
Fax: (617) 742-4528

See also

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Michael J. Connolly (D)
Massachusetts Secretary of State
Succeeded by