LAWRENCE — Secretary of State William F. Galvin announced on Monday that he will be exercising his authority under state law to take direct control of the election offices in the cities of Lawrence and Lowell.
He cited a lack of experienced election staff in Lawrence and errors in the processing of ballots and the tallying of state primary results in Lowell and as his reasons for the takeovers.
In a press release issued on Monday, Galvin said he will appoint officials to run any upcoming recounts in those cities and to oversee the administration of the Nov. 6 state election.
In a letter sent to Lawrence city officials on Monday, Galvin explained that his actions were prompted by the imminent departure of the city’s only experienced elections specialist, resulting in inadequate staffing ahead of the upcoming state election.
"The inadequate staffing of an election office so as to interfere with the orderly administration of an election constitutes a practice or procedure of a local official which is contrary to election laws," Galvin wrote. "A determination has been made that this matter constitutes urgent circumstances."
Galvin also wrote to city officials in Lowell and explained that several administrative errors in the processing of ballots and the tallying of state primary results led him to take control of their office for the potential recount in the 3rd Congressional District and the upcoming state election.
In both cities, Galvin will oversee the administration of the Nov. 6 state election, including absentee and early voting for that election.