More than 1,000 absentee ballot forms have been requested for the Democratic mayoral primary between Mary Jane Foster and Mayor Bill Finch and some have become the focus of elections complaints. The Mary Jane Foster for Mayor campaign has unleashed a pack of charges against the supporters of Mayor Bill Finch, charging that there is fraud and other illegal activities regarding absentee ballots.
Jason Bartlett, Foster’s campaign manager, said that Councilwoman Lydia N. Martinez, D-137, illegally assisted several elderly residents of Harborview Towers in filling out their absentee ballots. Martinez could not be reached for comment.
According to Bartlett, Martinez was at Harborview Towers collecting filled-in absentee ballots, which would be illegal under state law. The law requires that an absentee ballot can only be touched by a voter, a letter carrier, a police officer, a caretaker or an immediate family member. Bartlett said that this is “clearly illegal” activity, particularly because Martinez is a city council candidate.
Harborview Towers, on the city’s East Side, is a high-rise public housing complex that caters mostly to elderly and disabled residents.
Bartlett said that Martinez was also seen by Foster campaign workers engaged in similar activities in an apartment building on Grant Street, in the East End.
The Foster camp additionally charged that some Finch campaign workers were using the fact that the primary had to be rescheduled from Sept. 13 to Sept. 27 to confuse voters who support Foster.