EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 7, 2013

Election spotlight on mayor advocate

LAWRENCE — Tonight may be a moment in the sun for Ana Medina, when she could play a leading role in undoing the narrow loss suffered Tuesday by Mayor William Lantigua, for whom she campaigned vigorously over the last few months.

Or it could be an uncomfortable evening in the glare of a spotlight for Medina, when lawyers representing Daniel Rivera, who edged Lantigua by just 60 votes Tuesday, will be scrutinizing her intensely as she casts a series of votes on the Board of Registrars about which of the 54 still-uncounted provisional ballots to count.

Lantigua put her on the four-member Board of Registrars two years ago and has provided her small social service agency with $28,000 in city money, which appears to be the agency’s only source of funding.

Over the last several months, Medina sent the mayor’s campaign organization two checks totaling $400, attended several of his rallies and affixed Lantigua bumper stickers to her car and a 32-square-foot sign — five times larger than zoning allows — promoting Lantigua to the front of the Marston Street home she shares with her parents.

The state’s narrowly drawn ethics laws do not prohibit members of municipal boards of registrars from endorsing candidates, despite the doubts it could raise about their impartiality when close contests end up before them, as will happen in Lawrence tonight.

Secretary of State William Galvin said observers for his office were on guard for political partisans among poll workers in Lawrence on Tuesday, when he said one worker was questioned about whether he had made robo calls for a candidate and another who was removed for electioneering.

But Galvin said the rules are different for members of the Board of Registrars. He said no one should be surprised to see registrars on the campaign trail because state law specifically requires that registrars be enrolled in political parties and that they should be nominated to the board by local political parties.

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