EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 7, 2013

Lantigua, Rivera first to secure election spots

LAWRENCE – Mayor William Lantigua and City Councilor Daniel Rivera were the first to declare their candidacies for mayor last month, and now are the first to get spots on the ballot in September’s preliminary election, a city elections official said yesterday.

Lantigua, who is seeking a second four-year term, submitted nominating petitions with 399 valid signatures, 149 more than the 250 needed to get on the ballot, Rafael Tejeda, the city’s bilingual elections coordinator, said yesterday.

Rivera, who is the council’s vice chairman and chairs its budget committee, submitted 936 valid signatures.

Lantigua’s petitions contained more than 500 signatures, but more than 100 were invalidated, Tejeda said. More than 500 of the 1,500 or so signatures Rivera submitted were invalidated.

Most of the names that were were struck from the petitions came off because the home addresses registered voters provided when they signed the petitions did not match the addresses on their voter cards on file at the Elections Division, Tejeda said. He said the inconsistency typically occurs because voters often fail to notify the Elections Division when they move.

The petitions submitted by candidates can face a second round of challenges before the Board of Registrars, where anyone can contest a signature.

Also Monday, Tejeda said City Council candidates Modesto Maldonado, who is a former councilor, and Denise Perrault, a member of the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee, are the first to gain a spot on the preliminary ballot for a seat on the City Council. In all, at least 16 people have picked up nominating petitions for one of the council’s nine at-large or district seats, including seven of the nine incumbents.

The race for mayor so far has attracted seven people. Besides Lantigua and Rivera, the others who have picked up nominating petitions are Edwin Rodriguez, a Pentecostal pastor; James O’Donoghue, an inventor; Marcos Devers, a state representative; Nestor DeJesus, an accountant; and Juan Gonzalez, a firefighter.

Nominating petitions are due Aug. 6. The preliminary election is Sept. 17. The general election is Nov. 5.

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