The challenger facing Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua in the November general election is calling for state oversight of the city’s polling places and vote counting.
Given Lawrence’s history of electoral irregularities and a general mistrust of the voting process among some members of the public, state oversight is a good idea.
City Council Vice President Daniel Rivera, who finished second in polling Tuesday to earn a spot with Lantigua on the general election ballot in November, called on Secretary of State William Galvin to provide observers for 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.
Rivera also wants City Clerk William Maloney, who oversees city elections, to be replaced with a state official. Maloney supervises the three Election Division employees and hires and trains hundreds of poll workers.
“I believe that Clerk Maloney is ill-equipped personally and allows his fear of the mayor to drive him to be biased,” Rivera told reporter Keith Eddings. “He should be removed as the lead election official and a state official (should) be placed in charge.”
Rivera said Maloney on Tuesday confronted him and told him he was within a 150-foot perimeter of the entrance of a polling place, where campaigning is not allowed. At the same time, Rivera says, Maloney’s poll workers looked the other way while Lantigua campaigned inside a polling place.
The poll workers Maloney and Lantigua initially proposed for this year’s elections included several city employees who were eventually stricken from the list because city workers cannot collect two city paychecks. Justo Garcia, a city parking attendant and Lantigua campaign aide who was indicted last week for skimming proceeds from the Museum Square garage, was among the employees taken off the list.