The district attorney in Hampden County is investigating whether a Republican candidate for state representative orchestrated an illegal scheme to cast absentee ballots on behalf of hundreds of voters in hope of winning a primary election. State election officials were tipped off to the potential voter fraud when a suspiciously large number of residents of the Springfield suburb of East Longmeadow suddenly changed party registration from Democrat to independent, making them eligible to vote in the upcoming Republican primary. When contacted, several of the voters said they had not changed party affiliations, raising concern that someone had switched their party in an attempt to cast fraudulent absentee ballots on their behalf.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who referred the case to District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni for possible criminal prosecution, said the alleged scheme is extremely unusual in Massachusetts and could lead to jail time for anyone involved. “It’s very serious,” said Galvin, who has been conducting his own investigation since early this month. “It’s like stealing a person’s identity to steal money from them, but it’s worse. You’re trying to steal an election.”
The criminal investigation is focusing on Republican candidate Enrique John Villamaino III, an East Longmeadow selectman who narrowly lost a primary bid for the same legislative seat in 2010, according to several people with direct knowledge. He is facing a rematch with Marie Angelides, a Longmeadow selectwoman who beat him in 2010 before losing in the general election to Democrat Brian M. Ashe, now the incumbent. A friend of Villamaino’s who works in the East Longmeadow town clerk’s office is suspected of having changed the registrations in the office computers after work hours, according to one investigator who asked not to be named because the investigation is confidential.
Full Article: Voter fraud suspected in East Longmeadow race – Boston.com.