EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 27, 2013

Clerk: Broken booths jeopardize elections in Lawrence

Maloney blames recent problems mostly on old equipment

(Continued)

As the lines grew on election day, public works employees retrieved 10 dilapidated voting booths from storage, cobbled them together and delivered them to the polls.

Maloney said the city needs up to 150 additional voting booths, each with four stalls, at a cost of about $1,200 each. He said used voting booths are not available from manufacturers or from other municipalities. He said none of the 150 to 175 voting booths he sent to the Essex County House of Correction came back in a useful condition and that none is salvageable.

Rivera said he wasn’t satisfied.

“What we saw in the last election is that the clerk flies by the seat of his pants when planning these elections,” said Rivera, who chairs the budget committee, said after the meeting. He said the problems that arise as a result “cause people to feel like there’s an appearance of impropriety and casts a shadow across all of the election process.”

Maloney did not return a phone call Friday for further comment.

Sheriff Frank Cousins, who oversees the House of Corrections, and Secretary of State William Galvin, who oversees local elections, also did not return phone calls.

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