LAWRENCE – Allegations of voting irregularities in this city are as old as elections, and they continued last week when the city councilor who will challenge Mayor William Lantigua on Nov. 5 said the city is incapable of running the election and asked the state to take it over.
“I believe that Clerk (William) Maloney is ill-equipped personally and allows his fear of the mayor to drive him to be biased,” said City Councilor Daniel Rivera, who advanced to the general election after finishing second to Lantigua in Tuesday’s preliminary election. “He should be removed as the lead election official and a state official (should) be placed in charge.”
Rivera also said he will ask Secretary of State William Galvin to place observers in all 24 of the city’s polling places on Election Day to prevent a recurrence of what he called a “large number of irregularities” on Tuesday.
Galvin sent at least two representatives to observe Tuesday’s preliminary election. Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Galvin, would not say whether they observed irregularities and did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment on Rivera’s request that his office relieve the city from the task of running the general election in seven weeks.
The request caps a long history of distrust between Rivera and Maloney, including a confrontation outside a polling place Tuesday when Maloney told Rivera he was within the 150-foot perimeter of the entrance where campaigning is not allowed and told him to step back.
At the same time, Rivera said poll workers looked the other way while he said Lantigua campaigned inside polling places Tuesday. Rivera could not provide the names of anyone who may have seen Lantigua inside a polling place. Lantigua did not return a phone call Friday.
Maloney, who supervises the three Election Division employees and hires and trains hundreds of poll workers, also did not return a phone call.