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megimoo
01-19-2010, 07:51 PM
Charges of ballot tampering emerge in Senate race

Charges of ballot tampering are already flying as Bay State voters are packing the polls in heavy numbers today in the 11th-hour nailbiter to choose a successor for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Both camps of rivals Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown report possible election violations.

“We have seen a number of disturbing incidents this evening that have called into question the integrity of this election,” Coakley campaign manager Kevin Conroy said.

Coakley officials say they’ve received reports from five supporters that they received ballots already marked for Brown.

“Those are spoiled ballots and they should not be counted,” Coakley campaign attorney Marc Elias said. “This is a serious issue.”

Coakley spokesman Corey Welford said two supporters received ballots at polling places in Brighton and Cambridge that had already been filled out for Brown.

In the Brighton case, Secretary of State William Galvin said a ballot that was filled out, but never put in the voting machine, was left on a table and given to another voter. Poll workers verified the optical scanner was short one ballot and issued the voter a clean ballot, Galvin said. The other ballot was voided, he said.

In Cambridge, a voter took a ballot that was believed to be clean and then went into the voting booth. The voter then told election officials the ballot had been filled out.

Galvin said the ballot was voided and the voter was given a clean ballot.

“In both there was no official involvement and no official misconduct at any time,” he said.

The Brown campaign said there is a YouTube video of a woman displaying an absentee ballot in Lawrence, according to Galvin. He said there’s no evidence the video was taken today.

“We don’t think of it as something that’s going to affect the count,” Galvin said.

Lawrence City Clerk William Maloney said he spoke with the woman in the video, who he identified as Isabel Melendez. Melendez is a well-known figure in Lawrence and program director at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. and hosts a local radio program.

Maloney said Melendez told him the video was shot yesterday and the ballots she is seen holding are actually samples. Maloney added he verified the ballots in the video were marked as samples. He said Melendez is a Coakley supporter.

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20100119at_polls_turnout_high_ballot_issues_report ed/srvc=home&position=0