Election Commission Meeting Liveblog

Coverage: Telegram article, WoMag liveblog, video of the meeting

6:01 – Steve Foskett is here!

6:03 – official minutes distributed to board members; first sentence was stricken.  Minutes accepted with that change.

6:04 – Secretary of State’s response about recording equipment.  They have not heard from the Secretary of State, will be discussed at the next meeting.

6:05 – scheduling of mandatory poll worker training.

Stipend of $20 for wardens, clerks, and inspectors.  (Mandatory for wardens only)

Three sessions: one during day, one in evening, one on weekend.

6:06 – Clerk and Meduna enter.

Clerk: police training tentatively scheduled for last week of October.

Status of ramp on 5-3; it’s reserved and will be installed for November election.  Will look at whether building improvements will bring it to full compliance (so that temp ramp not needed).

6:08 – letter from Clayton Williamson.

Mohieldin: asks City Solicitor about the role of guard rail/defining polling place.

Solicitor says there needs to be some line of demarcation — observers are allowed to be at check-in tables.  They need to be able to hear people checking in to vote.

Goggins: could warden use masking tape?

Solicitor says that should suffice.

Goggins – observers do not have to furnish ID?  Could we as a board ask observers to give their name (and address)?

Solicitor – city committees and state committees can designate observers.

He might need to get clarification from Secretary of State regarding identification.  Observers are not allowed beyond the guard rail.

Goggins – observers are not allowed to speak directly to poll workers or each other.  Only with warden.  Solicitor confirms.

6:13 – need to address comments to the warden, says Moore.

Winant – regarding authority of wardens – if warden determines observers are disruptive, does the warden have the right to ask them to be removed?  Can police detain observers?

Moore – law says no person may be disorderly in polling place.  Warden can identify them as disorderly, police officer can remove them from polling place (civil matter) or it’s a crime to be a disorderly person at a polling place (criminal).

Moore – better practice to give warning before removal, and if person is a voter, they should have opportunity to finish voting (within limits) before removal.

They are asking whether they need to wait for a ruling from secretary of state, and the broadness of their powers.

Goggins – if nothing in CMR relative to asking for observer identification, can we have that as primary powers?

Moore – best to wait for Secretary of State

Lots more questions about this, I’m not writing them down because the answer is always “wait for the Secretary’s response” or a variation thereof.

6:20 – Goggins – would like to take up a vote about whether they can require observers to take up their names at the next meeting.

[In the opinion of this blogger, that is kind of crazy talk]

I have no idea what is going on right now, sorry.  They’re moving something and I have no idea what it is.

6:23 – Item 6c – clarification of rules and regulations.  If person needs to go to different polling location, they should have been provided provisional ballot rather than being sent back to other place.

Meduna requires that poll workers ascertain if they are listed somewhere else, and redirect them to the correct polling place.  If inactive and address changes, the person should sign the form and get a regular ballot.

Only in case where voter feels prior to deadline they filed an address change (administrative error), voter should be provided provisional ballot.

Someone asks if there’s a time when public can speak.  No.

6e – mandatory training of police.  In-service is scheduled four times a year.  September 5 was fall in-service, so will hold in-depth training last week in October.

6f – discussion of ways to improve communication regarding inactive status and correcting before election.

6:30 – City Clerk says they have looked at options.  Asked technical services department to update where do I vote button – as of today, if someone accessed the site, it will generate a form that can be printed, mailed, and re-activate voters.

They have completed the three-year contract with vendor that does street listing mailing.

So they would need to hire a mail-order house to create mailer.  This would take a while

Deadline is OCTOBER 17 to adjust your voting address, etc.

Clerk – they have literally thousands of new voter registrations and changes.  Two people in the office.  To generate thousands of cards and have them come in past deadline will not help.

Mohieldin – asks if this can be on the main city page.

Meduna – it is on the main page, instead of postcard mailer – perhaps they can design a single postcard type to handle this.

6:47 – discussion of staffing.  Demands on staff at city hall are well-demonstrated.  Two full-time staff people.  A few years ago, when we were in the depths of the most recent recession, the office was cut.  Need to be reinstated.  Administration is extremely careful in restoring positions, but need two mid-level positions added.  asap.

6:48 – thanks the support of the commission in supporting their requests.  City of Springfield has 19.5 FTE employees; Worcester has 12 (one on long term leave).

6:50 – beautiful warming up of musical instruments from across the hall at School Committee.

Applause from the crowd as the commission asks for that.

6:51 – Discussion of election-day activities.  Clerk’s office staff has general training to handle calls/questions.  Getting to election day, using overtime to make sure everything is processed on time.

6:52 – Lapierre says Jack Stewart could be a resource.

Mohieldin – Hiring of additional (20) wardens and clerks to be present in election commission office and/or relieve or replace wardens as needed.  Can man phones, etc.

Clerk has a reserve list of workers, but many are not available in the future.

Lapierre makes a motion for 10, not 20.

Clerk – notes that functions on 2nd floor (besides election stuff) cannot be suspended.

10 additional wardens passes.

Discussion of police investigation into allegations.

Lapierre has asked if anyone has filed anything.

6:58 – he says there have been no affidavits filed.

Dube does not know of any formal charges, but complaints.

Lapierre asks if any wardens have complaints.

Yes, says Dube.

Who? – Lapierre

Lapierre asks if Rivera has submitted a list of six voters with her complaint.

They ask for the city solicitor to come back to the podium.

Lapierre asks definition of voter intimidation and what is required for pursuing charges.

Moore says he can look for six-person rule.

Moore says complaints of illegal activity at polling place can be brought to election commission at any time, and warden on election day.

7:01 – Moore – commission would be the place to start to determine what DID happen, and then refer to a law enforcement agency.

Winant says there have been no specific complaints.

[So — let me get this straight — testifying last time was not specific complaints – ? – !]

Goggins says there were significant things mentioned last time.  He doesn’t know if they should/should not be investigated.  Every time an issue has come before us, a lot more public participation in Election Commission meeting than in prior years.

(Various people asked out loud before what the heck went on last week when various folks said there were no specific complaints)

Goggins says there will be no problems this election and that things will be addressed swiftly.

Goggins – Rivera had “powerful testimony” and felt she was intimidated.  Not her vote, but felt she was pretty close to being intimidated.

Lapierre – how would we go about a criminal investigation?

Goggins – doesn’t the WPD have detectives?  AG?  State Police?  If we wanted to, we could always ask someone to investigate.

Lapierre – would like legal opinion on voter intimidation.

Winant – voter intimidation or intimidation by person at polling location?

[How come none of these people can pronounce “Sarai”?  It is getting really old, and it’s not Ser-ee.]

Mohieldin – move to next meeting.  Wants clarification of how.

Lapierre – create structured environment [sorry, he is not making much sense]

Lapierre – having 23 people testify are fine by me, but I want to make sure those people were involved in the incident.

Goggins – thinks we should welcome testimony from ANYBODY about voter intimidation.

Lapierre – but we’d have to schedule a meeting just for that.


Mohieldin – requests written testimony to present at next meeting.

[Why do they need to discuss their testimony again?  This is foolishness.]

Next meeting – October 11 at 6pm.

I think that is it.

Goggins asks for five people to be able to address the commission for 1 minute.  Lapierre says you can’t just limit to five.  Yes you can.  How about seven?  Sounds good.

Kevin Ksen is up first.  If you’re concerned about what happend at 50 Murray Ave, asks that next meeting be at 50 Murray Ave.

Goggins – appreciated but wants meetings televised and must have it here to have it televised.

Jim Savage – revised his comments from the last meeting.  He was there and did not hear one voter object.

Chris Robarge, ACLU – wants to understand why we need to provide additional testimony when those on all sides of the issue testified before.  Why should they come back again?

Mohieldin – have had quite an education in last week and a half, and are better prepared to ask questions in context of law what is allowed and what is not allowed.  Would be appreciative to get to very specific questions in the future.

Robarge hammers them on saying there were no complaints.

Goggins – concerned.  Dube – heard you and was concerned.

Lapierre – he’s also concerned.

Bonnie Johnson – has been unjustly accused of many misdeeds.  David Rushford exceeded and abused his authority.  He behaved in disorderly manner.  Filed report to WPD – he “threatened” her at last Monday’s meeting.  [Not sure how — she was in the gallery]

[Is this over a minute yet?]

Same old, same old.  Poll watcher walked around all day.  Meduna was too chummy with this poll watcher.  Everyone is against her.  He might have been with the ACLU — and he was definitely at Mary Keefe’s victory party.

She was scared and intimidated.  She took pictures of poll watcher violating the rules.

Goggins reminds her she had her minute.

[Will she submit her video or audio?]

Tina “Cupcake” Hood – felt observers need to know that they can and cannot do.

Goggins tells her she is the warden and is in charge of that polling place.  You need to know that you have a lot of authority to enforce rules.  If you see anything that is causing the disturbance…

Hood does not want to be accused of being partisan.

Clerk – wants to exhort wardens to be trained according to statue – DO NOT ATTEND TRAININGS CONDUCTED BY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS.

“who have a different motivation that may be partisan” – whoa!

Ralph Perez feels disenfranchisement happened when majority-minority district was created in D15 and that there were people disenfranchised because they didn’t know of the change in polls.

Mohieldin was also redistricted and says she received three mailings about redistricting.

Clerk says they did twice as much as required.

Perez says 20 people he knows did not receive that information.  They were so upset they did not vote.

Perez – Several people did not receive their absentee ballot.

Meduna – says everyone who requested a ballot was sent one.  There was a specific case where they provided a certificate to a person to vote in person that day (who had previously requested an absentee ballot).  Any voter who says they did not receive one, they keep records in the office and they resend them twice — make every effort.

Ralph Perez asks that God bless Meduna.

Feels commission should adopt a rule that no councilor heavily help people at polls.  Conflict of interest.

Luz Vega – N2N – election day, she was getting out the vote on 50 Murray and Wellington because as soon as she got to table, she was asked for ID and ID had wrong address.  She was told to go to another place.  The person at city hall told her she SHOULD be at Murray Ave.  Isn’t sure why this wasn’t done by a poll worker.  Observer at polling place immediately challenged her vote.

Vega was told to leave the polling place because other people there spoke Spanish.  She asked the voter if she wanted help, she did, she helped.  The woman voted.  Felt observer was very persistent and there was a lot of commotion.

and we’re done!