Senator Scott Brown criticized the state’s welfare department Wednesday for sending voter registration forms to 478,000 people on public assistance, contending that the mass mailing was a ploy to boost the ranks of Democratic voters and help rival Elizabeth Warren’s election bid. The Democrat’s campaign denounced the Republican senator’s criticism as “bizarre,’’ pointing out that the legal challenge that triggered the mailing is part of an ongoing national effort that began years ago and that the law that is being enforced has long received bipartisan support. The state’s Department of Transitional Assistance sent registration forms last month, along with prepaid return envelopes, as part of an interim settlement over a lawsuit alleging that the department has consistently failed to comply with federal voter registration law. The suit was filed in May by a pair of voting rights groups that were represented by Demos, an advocacy and public policy organization from New York that has brought similar actions in more than a half-dozen states.
Warren’s daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, chairs the group’s board of trustees, prompting accusations that the lawsuit was motivated by partisan and personal interest. “I want every legal vote to count, but it’s outrageous to use taxpayer dollars to register welfare recipients as part of a special effort to boost one political party,” Brown said. “This effort to sign up welfare recipients is being aided by Elizabeth Warren’s daughter and it’s clearly designed to benefit her mother’s political campaign.”