On Monday afternoon, two community groups, the Chinese Progressive Association and the Chinese Progressive Political Action ,released a statement alleging voter absentee ballot fraud – in particular calling out the District 2 candidate campaign of Mike Kelley.
According to the statement, fourteen years ago, the CPA helped elderly Chinese voters file complaints with the Boston Election Department and the Secretary of State, because elderly Chinese-speaking voters were being instructed and led to vote for a certain candidate while inside the voting booth, in some cases having their ballots even marked for them. This led to a Department of Justice lawsuit and a settlement launching Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots for Boston voters.
The statement goes on to state that Chinese elderly have been victims of blatant voting rights violations, this time involving absentee ballots. From the statement:
“Members of Mike Kelley’s Chinatown operation submitted over a hundred absentee ballot requests on behalf of elderly voters, then took voters’ blank ballots away in signed but unsealed envelopes. Witnesses report that this team made the rounds to at least ten housing developments in Chinatown, holding a stack of yellow absentee ballot return envelopes. In some cases, Mike Kelley himself joined the team to knock on doors and suggest that voters request an absentee ballot.”
The statement then quotes a one of the complainants and describes the operation of what happened on or around October 19th:
“On about October 19th, a woman unknown to me ‘helped’ me apply for an absentee ballot. I did not know that it was an application for absentee ballot, but I was told that I would get a yellow envelope. About two days later, the same woman along with another man came back to my apartment. They took my yellow envelope and told me to sign my name on that yellow envelope. Later, I found out that I was asked to sign an absentee ballot application and they took my absentee ballot. I did not see my ballot or mark the ballot. I was only asked to sign the envelope.”
District 2 Candidate Mike Kelley’s campaign released the following statement:
“The CPA and the CPPA have chosen to engage in desperate smear campaign politics against us while endorsing our opponent. Their tactics are outrageous and their allegations are unfounded and have no place in today’s Boston. The Kelley Campaign sets the highest standards for our election’s efforts as we expect all candidates do. We remain 100 percent focused on the issues that matter to the voters of District 2.” — Brian Sowyrda, Mike Kelley Campaign Manager
Lydia Lowe, board member of the CPPA responded to the Kelley campaigns statement. “As a board member of Chinese Progressive Political Action (CPPA) and a long-time voting rights activist, I am extremely disappointed in the Kelley campaign’s response to these serious violations. Just because our members chose the other candidate is not a reason to belittle voters’ rights and allow this type of unlawful abuse. I notified the Kelley campaign a week ago to ask that they investigate and get their Chinatown team under control for a fair election, and am truly disappointed in this response. A number of voters have filed affidavits and the facts will speak for themselves,” said Lowe.
Lowe also told Mass Live.com, there are 120 “questionable” absentee ballots and a number of voters have filed affidavits and submitted them to the City of Boston’s elections department.
“Fixing votes is a deceitful violation of public trust, said Ed Flynn (District 2 Candidate who received endorsements from both the CPA and CPPA) via statement. He added, “It is unconscionable to use trickery to snatch ballots from and violate the constitutional rights of elderly, non-English speaking residents. We won Chinatown in September, and it’s deeply troubling that in an act of desperation, my opponent and his supporters would knowingly disenfranchise voters.”
We have reached out the City of Boston election department. More to follow. To read the entire statement from the CPN visit here.