EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 5, 2012

Election official stays on the job

Mayor says he will wait until state determines whether Tejeda faked four signatures


City Councilor Roger Twomey, who serves on the council’s personnel committee, said Lantigua should make Tejeda step aside while Galvin’s investigation goes forward.

“I can’t say whether he’s guilty or not, but what I would say is that it puts a taint on the Election Division and I believe it would be in the best interest of the city if he were put on leave,” Twomey said. “The city’s always been accused of having election fraud. It’s never been proven, but (the allegation) is always there. This doesn’t help.”

Alejandrina Reyes, one of the people whose signatures Tejeda allegedly faked, said last week she did not sign Moran’s petition. Reyes is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and so is ineligible to vote in the United States and is not on Lawrence’s voter rolls.

The three others whose signatures may have been faked could not be reached.

One of the three, Norma Fuerte – who is the sister-in-law of Tejeda’s wife and lives in the same building at 71 Greenwood St. as the Tejedas - voted by absentee ballot last month. A week ago, The Eagle-Tribune requested a copy of her ballot application and the envelope the ballot was returned in to determine whether the signatures on them also may have been faked.

The request for the document was referred to Lantigua’s office, as Lantigua requires for all requests under the state’s Public Records Law that are filed with city departments. The city has not yet released the documents.

A handful of officials and candidates in today’s election questioned whether the city can run the election fairly given the allegations against Tejeda, who is one of just three employees in the Election Division.

John “Jack” Wilson, the Republican running for Northern Essex Registry of Deeds, traveled to Boston yesterday with the hope of meeting with Galvin to request that he send observers to Lawrence’s 24 polling places today. He said he was told Galvin was not available.

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