One of the main duties of the secretary of state in Massachusetts is to ensure the integrity of elections. Secretary of State William Galvin has recently demonstrated he is unwilling or uninterested in performing that duty.
Galvin last week decided not to investigate allegations of faked signatures on nominating petitions filed last year for then state representative candidate Frank Moran, a Lawrence Democrat. Moran went on to win election in November and is now the state representative for the 17th Essex District. He is also president of the Lawrence City Council.
This matter is particularly serious as it is alleged that Rafael Tejeda, a city election official, is the one who faked the signatures on the petition.
The Eagle-Tribune hired a forensic handwriting expert to examine five signatures on the petition. The expert, Ron Rice of Plymouth, concluded that Tejeda signed all five of the signatures, then used his position as an election official to fill in boxes at the bottom of the petition sheets validating the signatures. Tejeda himself also signed Moran’s petitions.
The story was reported on Nov. 4. The next day, Galvin’s spokesman told the State House News Service the secretary would look into the allegations. That “investigation” never went beyond reading The Eagle-Tribune story, according to Galvin’s spokesman Brian McNiff.
Among Galvin’s reasons for rejecting a full investigation: Tejeda said in the story that he didn’t forge the signatures.
“Forging the names of voters to nomination papers is a serious matter,” McNiff said in an email to reporter Keith Eddings. “But after reviewing accounts of the allegedly forged signatures on nomination papers of a candidate for state representative in Lawrence, reported the weekend before the Nov. 6, 2012 election, the accounts, which include a denial from the alleged perpetrator, remain simple (sic) that, allegations.”