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BREAKING: OEMs Fail to Kill Right to Repair Bill

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July 15, 2020—The Secretary of State has officially declared the Right to Repair question will appear on the Massachusetts ballot after vehicle manufacturers withdrew a legal challenge against it, according to a press release.

According to the release, vehicle manufacturers submitted a legal challenge to the Massachusetts Ballot Commission on July 8, arguing that the Right to Repair Committee disobeyed signature-gathering requirements outlined by the Massachusetts Supreme Court by storing the signatures in a separate file and tracking personal data without notification.

However, after a candidate for Congress, Helen Brady, had her legal challenge approved after using the same signature-gathering vendor, vehicle manufacturers withdrew their challenge.

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee turned in 24,000 signatures on July 1 to the Secretary of State regarding the ballot question. The submission is more than the 13,374 signatures that are required by law to have a question placed on the ballot. While these signatures are usually collected manually, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Right to Repair Committee to seek a consent from the Massachusetts Supreme Court to permit the collection of signatures electronically.

Even though the challenge has been withdrawn, there is still an issue. The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, a collection of voters and groups determined to protect consumer safety, privacy and cybersecurity, reached out to Ratchet+Wrench with the following statement: 

“The challenge has been withdrawn given the SJC ruling. However, it should be noted that ballot access is a different issue than public policy and voter privacy. The fact remains that the vendor used by the proponents of this proposal collected and stored deeply personal information on anyone who signed their petition. That violation of privacy and risk to cybersecurity should not be forgotten – especially given the ramifications of this question. We will remain focused on sharing the truth about this dangerous proposal and defeating it at the ballot box.”  - Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data 

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