Election Commission Liveblog

5:47 – got here late, forgot it was at the library.

Of note: both Colorio and Mullaney are here.  #OccupyBoylston is here as well.

Right now someone from Neighbor to Neighbor (will be referred to as N2N) is giving an overview of their activities.

“Tonight our focus is a concern based on several instances that came up.”

They are addressing N2N literature left within 150 of a polling station (at Senior Center).

N2N – “It’s duty of poll workers to do a clean sweep. … If there’s anything left behind…” duty of poll workers.

5:50 – according to the police officer, it was hidden in a stack of newspapers.

N2N – “The work that we did across the city did not include the Senior Center.”

Seems like there are questions from the gallery.

David Coyne  – we need to recognize that some locations are public access locations.  In Senior Center lobby, there can be newspapers with ads and endorsements.  The presumption (and he’s offended by it) is that N2N put it there on Election Day and that they hid the materials.

Clarification — there were 40 or 50 pamphlets.  Commissioner – “I’m not accusing N2N of placing them there.”  He wants assurance that this will not happen again.

5:56 – Coyne – “If the Telegram hasn’t removed the newspapers from that location, then they are violating the law.”

The chair said she looked carefully around at Senior Center and “there was nothing there.”  The bulletin board had nothing.  Didn’t see a pile of newspapers, and wouldn’t have thought to look inside a pile of newspapers.

Kennedy from N2N – “our strategy is in the field.  … We do encourage people … whatever they take … that if it’s material they take it with them.”

#OccupyBoylston says that the Worcester Senior Center – you cannot leave material there at any time.  They would confisgate it if it had been there before.

Timothy Dillon was pollwatching in Ward 10 pct 1 and 3, and a N2N person brought in campagin materials.  [There are pictures.]  A poll warden confisgated it and put them on the windowsill next to the door, next to the ballot box.

6:01pm – Flyers that N2N brought in threw it in the garbage.  But it was still in the polling place.

The warden confisgated from both voter and N2N worker.  Unclear why they confisgated it from the voter.

Dillon – The police “took control of the paperwork after it had been thrown in the garbage.”  The N2N person did not walk into the booth with the voter.

Commissioner – sounds like this was handled quite well by the voting staff.

The Tea Partiers seem to have concerns that this was next to the ballot box.  Unclear why.

He says that the N2N person had a N2N t-shirt, except you can’t see that in the photo.

6:04 – Kennedy – this is an example “of the good work that we do.”  They turn out the voters.

#OccupyBoylston made an outburst, the chair warns her to shut her trap or she’ll throw her out.  Dillon mutters under his breath as well.

Kennedy of N2N continues. 

6:06 – Kevin Ksen – is it the policy of the election commission that photos can be allowed in the polling location?

Josh Meduna – Yes, as long as it’s not of the person marking the ballot, etc.  Audio recordings are prohibited.

Kevin K. continues — the warden should fill out an incident form so that we’re not going by testimony of someone who’s hostile..

The police were involved in the Assumption case where a couple was almost arrested, according to the chair, but there was no police report.  Kevin would like more info, Rushford says it’s not public info.

6:09 – #Desireeeee – asks if the commission thinks what N2N did is illegal.

Chair says she has not seen any evidence of illegality, it was handled correctly by the warden.  Does not know what possible motive someone would have in sticking a pile of leaflets in a newspaper.

New Commissioner — it’s his first meeting — thinks we have to look at the process overall as a commission.  needs to make everyone feel fair.

#Desireeee is concerned that there was a sample ballot and that they are a partisan political group.

[We should note she is testifying and operating a camera at the same time.  Skills, people.]

Chair says as long as the leaflet was in the hand of the voter, that was legal. 

#Desireeeee – “the intent!”

Chair – “we can’t draw a what if”.  “It looks like our policy was affirmed and enforced.”

#Desireeeee – she knows how active N2N is.  They were at Ward 4 Pct 3, Ward 6, Pct 4, Webster Square Towers, they had sample ballots.  Within the 150 foot limit! 

[THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU REPORT IT?!!!!!]

Except she wasn’t inside the polling place.  This is all based on her psychic intuiting.

6:14pm – gentleman whose name I didn’t get.  Lots of immigrants in this city who are citizens but who cannot read.  Wants to confirm someone can take a leaflet into the polling place themselves (that is, a voter).

Chair confirms that.

He doesn’t feel that N2N is responsible in cases where it might be a voter leaving leaflets, or someone else…

Commissioner – voters can’t unduly display election materials in the polling place.

Rushford – in conclusion, wants to confirm that poll workers will be continue to be trained on sweeps of polling places.  They (Rushford and Meduna) confirm that lights are working, that there are no signs close by, brush removed from sidewalks, etc., before election and will do so again.

Yet another commissioner thanks the TP folks for bringing these issues to the forefront.  Observes that everybody that works for the election commission is much more aware of the rules than they were before the complaints.  “As far as I’m concerned…[the situation with the throwing away of the materials] is everything we want to achieve.”

moving on…new business…

opening of overseas absentee ballot (singular): 

Councilor at Large – Lukes Petty Rushton Toomey, two blanks
District – blank
Mayor – Lukes
SC – Foley Monfredo Ramirez, three blanks
Non-binding question – no

(So, no change in SC race)

Deadline for conducting the SC recount – Friday afternoon.  Recount will happen on Monday, November 28 at 9AM.  4 policemen, 20 poll workers, ballots will be under police guard or lock at all times.

#OccupyBoylston – “food? break? lunch?”

Rushton – Breakfast and lunch are already ordered, according to Rushton, for poll workers and observers.  Food outside the room, no pens allowed inside.

Mullaney – how often is tally brought?

Meduna – every single block of 50 ballots is tallied.

communication from N2N about September 20 preliminary —

6:35 – there’s some information about households, Ward/Precinct changes, and how that would affect the presidential primary in March.

adjourned!

There is a difference between collegiality and Stepford-like obeisance

Nick K. for the money quote:

“There’s definitely an unhealthy tension between the city manager and mayor over this,” Mr. Palmieri observed. “We should be focusing on more important issues. If there is going to be disagreement between the manager and mayor, let it be on a far more substantive issue.”

This request for a focus on more important issues is about as out of touch as Konnie Lukes’ suggestion that “we’ve sort of turned the tables around where the City Manager is leading and the City Council isn’t doing much of anything.”

Yes, Ponytail, the problem is that we should be focusing on more important issues.  And that’s been the problem for quite a few years.

What issues, pray tell, are too unimportant for the City Council?  Cigarette rolling machines?  Pit bulls?  Taxi cabs?  Shoveling sidewalks?  Hot dogs?

The City Council decided quite a long time ago (not recently, contrary to Councilor Lukes’ assertions) to play sideshow to the City Manager’s main event.

The City Council has allowed the City Manager to be the ringmaster and have relegated the role of clowns to themselves.

Every major policy point or project is delegated to the City Manager, whether it be CSX or homelessness.

Isn’t it an issue that there was roughly one police officer per three gallery members at the last City Council meeting?  I don’t recall that many police officers at the Council hearings on pit bulls, which involved much more anger and considerably more participants.

One can assume that the “unhealthy tension” between the City Manager and Mayor is not of the homoerotic Edward/Jacob variety.

One can also assume that most City Councilors feel that any tension is of the “unhealthy” variety.

There is nothing wrong with there being some tension between the executive and the legislative.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the idea that collegiality equals consensus does not help the city.

It’s ok to disagree.

And it’s especially ok to disagree when we talk about a group’s rights to assemble and speak.

I think Occupy Worcester’s aims and methods are questionable.

I think there are still questions about what constitutes traditional public forum (vs. limited public forum) and I don’t know that OW is always on the right side of that debate.

But I would hope that more than one City Councilor would be concerned that members of OW were accused of trespassing for entering City Hall a couple of weeks ago, and that their presence at a City Council meeting was met by quite a few police officers.

The primary criterion we use to elect City Councilors should not be the ability to harmonize while singing Kumbaya with the City Manager.

If we’re kicking people out of City Hall because they want to speak with the man in charge, if the last City Council meeting was an exercise in determining the precise definition of “disproportionate force”, then our elected officials should be speaking up.