The two men are running in the 17th Essex House District, made up of parts of Lawrence, Andover and Methuen. The district is now represented by Paul Adams, who is giving up the seat to run for the state Senate.
Moran described Cuff’s allegations as a “Hail Mary,” using a football metaphor that refers to a long pass with little chance of success thrown by a frantic quarterback running out of time.
“It’s lies, what he’s saying,” Moran said. “It’s desperation on his part.”
Cuff said the five similar signaturesare among several “red flags” he said he noticed on Moran’s petitions last spring. He said he suspects all of the 180 or so signatures were signed by just five or six people.
“There’s a consistent pattern,” Cuff said. “I believe the same few hands signed all the papers ... It looks pretty damn goofy.”
The four voters whose names may have been faked include Alejandrina Reyes of 71 Greenwood St., who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and so is not eligible to vote in the United States. In an interview in her kitchen last week that was translated by her daughter, Reyes said she did not sign Moran’s petition.
Although Reyes is not on Lawrence’s voter rolls, her signature on Moran’s nominating petitions was checked off as valid by one of the three workers in the Election Division who are charged with cross-checking names on nominating petitions with voter roles.
Tejeda is among the three who carry out that task, but he said he did not know which of them certified Reyes’ signature when his office approved Moran’s petitions in April.
Election clerks do not sign the petition sheets they validate. However, the penmanship verifying the sheet of signatures that includes Tejeda’s signature and the four signatures in question is Tejeda’s, Rice said.