Mass Dems Seek Switch of Parties to Vote for McCain

By Jerry Miller | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Boston, MA ( - The Massachusetts Secretary of State contends that Arizona Senator John McCain could benefit from the thousands of calls that have come into his office from Democratic voters anxious to switch parties for the March 7th primary election.

William Galvin said late on Wednesday that many Democrats are calling and asking how they can switch parties, ostensibly to vote for McCain, while others are calling and asking how they can register for the first time.

Galvin said the calls began on Wednesday, February 2nd, the day after McCain beat Texas Governor George W Bush by 19 points in the New Hampshire primary and have continued since. Galvin described the number of calls as "overwhelming," and he estimated that they have been coming in at a rate of more than 1,000 a day.

The number of callers has been so large that lawyers on Galvin's staff have been forced to drop on-going work in order to help respond to inquiries.

According to Galvin, Democrats and Independent voters, known here as "unenrolled," have until February 16th to change parties, as do Republicans, wishing to vote in the Democratic primary. The state's policy of permitting people to switch parties to vote in the opposition's primary was implemented in 1996. After casting their votes, the switchers can again become Independents.

If the contest in neighboring New Hampshire is any indication, McCain could again reap the benefits of Democrats switching parties to vote for him, even though the Bay State is and has historically been strongly Democratic.

McCain, who has strongly courted Independents and Democrats, contends he is only doing what former President Ronald Reagan did successfully in 1980.