School committee concerned with absentee ballot process

The Everett School Committee has asked Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin for a review of the absentee ballot process in the city of Everett.

This is not breaking news.

The School Committee earlier had made the initial request following the November election.

Monday night, the School Committee sent Galvin a second notice requesting that his office examine and make recommendations about absentee ballot procedure and voting in Everett – which – the School Committee believes, is out of control.

Using charts that are included in this week’s edition of the Independent, official documents reveal an absentee ballot Perfect Storm, according to School Committee officials and School Superintendent Fred Foresteire.

“We have concerns about the unusually heavy use of absentee ballots in Everett’s election of city officials, compared to surrounding communities use of absentee ballots in their city-wide elections,” wrote Foresteire to Galvin in the follow-up to the original letter.

“Other concerns included candidates for office who had absentee ballot applications and ballots sent to their homes; individuals who voted in Everett’s November 2009 election by absentee ballot who had not lived in Everett for many years; and the unusually large distribution of absentee ballots to rooming houses, city nursing homes and senior citizen housing by a few candidates running for office in that election,” Foresteire added.

The communication to Galvin listed other abnormalities about the absentee ballot situation in Everett.

Foresteire pointed out that in January 2010, Everett voters participated in the state-wide special election held to fill the position of United States Senator. A chart comparing use of absentee ballots in Everett in the November 2009 election with the January 2010 special election is enclosed. With 2,000 more Everett people voting in that special election during one of the worst months for weather, there was a 50% drop in absentee ballots used. The School Committee believes that this is further reason to ask for a review of this balloting process.

In addition, he expressed the concerns of many others by bringing up the special election for state senate – a campaign now ongoing .

Foresteire said if there are extreme abnormalities that it is of extreme importance that Galvin takes a much closer look and sooner rather than later.

The School Committee believes in the seriousness of the issue, he wrote.

“The matter of possible misuse of the absentee ballot process cannot be allowed to remain unresolved through yet another election,” he wrote.

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