Case closed!

Well, it’s good to know that the anonymous pontificator(s) at the Telegram and Gazette have a sense of humor:

The evidence presented so far paints a picture of organizations that, while on opposite sides of the political fence, share the goal of ensuring that everyone who is legally entitled to vote has the opportunity to do so.

One of the groups in question, Activate Worcester, seems to feel that welfare recipients and the “disenfranchised” need to be watched.  They didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about 3,000 new voters or supportive of their opportunity to vote.

You can have all the “calls for a re-emphasis on mutual respect” you want, but when there was no emphasis on mutual respect on the part of Activate Worcester to begin with, it’s a bit hard to believe it will happen.

There are many questions still outstanding.  It’s unclear whether the Election Commission will ever look into them, and I guarantee that things will get worse until the Election Commission stops worrying about how many verses there are in Kumbaya and starts worrying about the right of the citizenry to vote.

Here is what we need to know, in no particular order:

1) What constitutes a formal complaint and how to send it to the Election Commission.  It should be absolutely offensive to those on any side that the Election Commissioners seemed to feel that 2.5 hours of testimony did not comprise at least one formal complaint.  If you appear before a commission, state your name and address, and complain, then you should be told what you need to do to make that complaint formal.

2) How many votes were challenged?  Progressive activists felt that there were votes that were challenged for insufficient reasons, but we do not know how many votes were challenged.  Poll workers are required to note that information and write down the challenger’s name.  It’s unclear whether that happened, it’s unclear how many it happened to, and it’s unclear whether the commission will make sure that poll workers are trained in proper procedure regarding challenges.

3) Where exactly can the election commission meet?  I have attended at least one election commission meeting at the Worcester Public Library, so it’s unclear to me why the election commission dismissed Kevin Ksen’s request to have a meeting at 50 Murray Avenue because the meeting should be broadcast live.  While it is important that the meetings be recorded and televised, it’s unclear why they need to be broadcast live, when they never have in the past.

4) How many people were redirected to a different polling place and/or given provisional ballots?

5) What is the investigation procedure regarding non-poll workers?  The city solicitor said there need to be at least 6 voters in the ward to complain about a poll worker for a formal investigation.  However, my understanding is that most of the complaints were not against “poll workers” but against “poll observers.”  So — how would that sort of investigation work?

6) There were fliers indicating that people needed to show ID to vote.  Has anyone reviewed the WHA video tapes from either election day or the night before?

7) What is the role of the city clerk?  As explained in the city solicitor’s communication to the city council, the city clerk in Worcester has a different role in elections than in other municipalities due to home rule legislation from 2007.  However, he also states that “the warden is responsible for maintaining order and handling violations of election laws by election officers or others. The warden may use police assistance when necessary.”  This is something Bonnie Johnson alluded to on Thursday night — is the city clerk in charge of a polling place, or is it ultimately the warden?  Imagine, if you will, a case in which an absolutely biased warden of the Activate Worcester variety decided to eject the city clerk from a polling place.  I want to know what the powers of the warden are, and what the role of the city clerk is.  More clarification is definitely needed.

8) Better methods for ensuring that people do not become inactive voters.  We have too many voters labeled as inactive.  We need to figure out ways to make the annual street listing process a success.  If voters sign a candidate’s nomination papers, they need to be processed in a timely fashion so that they are not mislabeled inactive.  This should be a priority of the commission.

(Have I missed anything?  If I have, leave a comment.)

It’s challenging to conduct hearings where people are passionate and where testimony can quickly devolve into a tit-for-tat of accusations and name-calling.  But the Election Commission needs to clarify how people can make complaints and in what manner their complaints will be heard and addressed.  Voters also need to know that the Commission cares about truth and proper procedure.

We may never get at the truth of what happened on primary day.  But saying that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated without understanding what happened, how it happened, and who did it will not prevent this sort of behavior from occurring in November.

7 thoughts on “Case closed!

  1. Sean says:

    I think you laid out ever concern there is. Don’t worry, in a few weeks Robert Nemeth will have a column poo-pooing your concerns.

    Where did you get voter training flier?

    I’m also concerned with questions regarding boundaries at the polls. I have never seen anything other than a table at a polling place, and I have voted at four different places in my Worcester voting career

    All the mentions of observers being behind the rail confuse me.

    • Nicole says:

      If you do an internet search for activate worcester poll worker training, you’ll find links like this that no longer list the event. This is because there has been a concerted effort to hide that these trainings took place in clear violation of the city’s insrtuctions to poll workers.

      We’ve been trying to capture the stuff on the web that AW keeps deleting. The link is to a screen capture taken of one of the listings on a Tea Party website.

  2. John Rider says:

    What did you miss? Yes you missed a lot.

    This is all dictated by the Sec of State. When there is an appointed election commission THEY are in charge. That is the law. The home rule exception is only to allow our clerk to help in an administrative role only, but with NO authority. This all begs the question. For how long has this tool of the Shamrock club been hijacking our election process, just like he was hijacking wedding fees. I would like to see an investigation into that AND I would like to see Ralph Perez claims of electioneering by Sarai Rivera investigated too.

  3. Sean says:

    John-
    Have you ever considered that maybe the fix isn’t in against conservatives in Massachusetts? After all, there have been a few elected to office- Weld, Celucci, Romney, Brown. Why? Because they ran!

    The primary ballot in my district for the Republican party had one name on it- Scott Brown’s. That’s why this state is dominated by Democrats. Statewide, the Democrats have quite a few opportunistic conservative members unwilling to identify as Republican despite their policies and views (see Finneran, Lukes, Flynn, Glodis, etc.)

    You need more candidates, and you need better candidates. The Marty Lambs of the world aren’t going to cut it, and neither is the imaginary conspiracies regarding election fraud by Neighbor to Neighbor, Acorn, the Black Panther Party, David Rushford, etc.

  4. Mr says:

    Voter ID will solve every single issue. If the objection to it is that some voters do not have access to getting ID, there is a solution in place already. The myriad of people and organizations already running folks to the polls and assisting them in the voting process are available to run them to city hall, the RMV, etc to assist them in getting IDs.

    Now what is the objection?

  5. Jim Savage says:

    Nicole–
    1. It is hard to believe with all the recorded testimony of opinions and hear-says that NOT ONE witness has been produced on revelant issues – just a lot of hot air and patriotic encouragement of a clean election from whence they heard from this very unobjective progressive left. Thus is the life of politics-
    2. Everyone voted. What do you mean by challenged? that each “i” voter had to produce evidence that identified him/her at an address within the precinct? If only people could be jailed for exaggerating….
    3. Meet at the polling place. A visit could do that if necessary and the hearing could take place at the usual hall. Perhaps the commission could come up with some good rules and a system to keep the unauthorized, e.g., Neighbor to Neighbor volunteers outside the 150 feet required of the partisan workers.
    4. Redirected… very few but a necessary action if they wanted their vote to be counted.
    5. Investigation? The six witnesses must actually see something that was illegal- not hear from biased progressive workers that it happened. If it happened let the one who saw it state his witness.
    6. Fliers? Do any exist? None were produced. Where were they found if so? What did they say and were they actually a communication intended to prevent potential voters from exercising their voting rights or could a flier warned unauthorized voters not to try to cheat our election system?.
    7. The City Council requested an opinion that resulted in the City Clerk being told that he is not in charge of Elections but only an Administrator of services supporting the election. The opinion made it clear that the Election Commission is in charge. So this system is finally getting tuned correctly.
    OTHER ISSUES RAISED:
    There is no restriction that gives the City Clerk the exclusive right to provide all the only training. In fact any such prohibition would be a violation of the first amendment. The City Clerk’s training was very good but not only did the Republican Party’s supplemental unpaid training help the newly appointed Election officers but it improved the capability of those who attended. Here we see that the City Clerk was wrong in the main issue with him – the City Solicitor said he was not in charge but that such belonged to the Election Commission. So additional training actually offers a better balance of learning and any confused areas could be identified before it’s too late.
    ——AGREE that a required voter id would help but 99% of the voters showed their driver’s license without being asked for any identification. The failure to require an ID will likely lead to some fraudulent votes especially if the documents without pictures don’t identify the voter.
    _____ACTIVATE Worcester. This was only a movement and probably an activity of the Republican Party in which people were encouraged to register and vote for the Republican candidates.
    ———-6 Precinct Poll Workers. Are required to come from the Democrat Party (2) and Republican Party(2) and unenrolled worker (1) and one other- this balance helps keep elections fair while assisting the voter. For the first time, the City Clerk had an improved balance of Republican poll workers to the majority of Democrat workers.
    —–Observers: Have a right to see if a clean election is being conducted. that only authorized parties are within the polls, and that if they choose to mark off names that are read aloud by the inspectors. They have a right to speak to the warden and probably also to the policeman.

    There seems to be a few legitimate issues and a lot of hot air issues and several mistaken issues. There is a lot to be done to ready for November 6 for the legal voters. The lines of demarcation need to be marked so the poll workers can provide the voters a suitable place to vote that can be witnessed by the poll observers. Hopefully everyone has been educated now including many things that were not included in the City Clerk’s training or the Republican party training.

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