If there’s any office for which a candidate should be disqualified for engaging in absentee ballot fraud, it’s city clerk, which, among other responsibilities, is in charge of handling absentee ballots. Yet in an astounding claim made just days before Tuesday’s election, City Clerk Ron Smith said late last week that he planned to file a complaint with the state Elections Enforcement Commission concerning complaints about absentee ballot fraud. At issues are affidavits from 11 residents of Ward 8 — the ward represented by Smith’s opponent Alderman Michael Smart — claiming their absentee ballots were illegally picked up. One resident told the Register’s Mary O’Leary on Thursday that Smart himself picked up her ballot. The woman, Cynthia Britt, issued a statement Friday walking back her original comments and saying that Smart had merely handled her application for an absentee ballot, and not the ballot himself.
Records in the city clerk’s office show that Smart took out the majority of the 181 absentee ballot applications tallied in the office by Deputy City Clerk Sally Brown. Taking out the ballots is legal. But only a family member of an incapacitated person, a designated caretaker or a police officer can return the ballot if the voter is incapable of mailing it back.
Smart told the Register he did not pick up Britt’s ballot, but said he didn’t want to talk about the allegations in detail, thought he said he followed the letter of the law.
“There is an investigation going on and until it is done, I don’t want to get into it,” Smart said.
Full Article: Editorial: Voters deserve answers on voter fraud allegations.