I have checked the Requirements and Procedures for placing a Proposition 2½ question on the ballot and these are my findings.
I am sure the City of Lawrence has not met the legal requirements to place this question on the ballot – it requires a vote of the Council, endorsed by the Mayor, copies sent to the Secretary of State by the first Wednesday in August.
Notice of the item for printing on the ballot should be sent to the Secretary of State 35 days before the election showing how it is supposed to appear on the ballot. That means that the deadline was September 28, 2021, which is passed. All these requirements must be met BEFORE the question can be placed on the ballot.
If the City fails to complete the legal requirements, it could result in a complaint to the Attorney General and Secretary of State for failing to meet all lawful requirements necessary. In any complaint filed, a request for an immediate order to intervene should be included.
There’s always the possibility that they are playing the same game as when they sent the Home Rule Petition last January to avoid having a special election and it was signed by the councilors the day after it had been approved by the governor.
Although the Administration claims that the funds are needed to support the rebuilding of Schools (an obvious untruth) a 2½ override for the City of Lawrence is more likely the result of the overspending by the prior and current Administration (ie: Finance Employee multiple pay raises given out over the past four years is one source).
More importantly, a tax override provided to a City that receives about 85% of its operating funds from the State is outrageous. A property tax is also discriminatory to a population that is already economically disadvantaged and will result in increased rents and property use costs to the residents of Lawrence (which be picked up by the State for those who qualify for housing assistance).
The proposed use of funds to build schools (capital projects) should have been included in the Capital Improvement Plan for May 2021, which the Administration was supposed to submit one for 2021 with a revenue plan approved by Council in May (City Charter Sec. 7). It is also likely that a revenue projection should have been included in the 2022 FY Budget.
The only surprise was Kendrys leading by about 4,500 votes which was – interesting. The sudden rise in popularity from District C to the Mayor’s Office might be attributed to several factors among which include occupying the Mayor’s office as an interim. As the Boston Preliminary has shown, being interim Mayor does not necessarily result in votes.
Perhaps some can be attributed to the gang style used at the polls by Kendrys’ campaign workers. His wife was kicked out of the Arlington School grabbing people inside before voting and passing out flyers. Then, at 355 Park St., she was going through all floors with another resident knocking on doors and bringing them down to vote.
At Valebrook, she was passing information inside and later Franklin Miguel and Rubén Pérez were seen leaving the building.
Kendrys’ sign holders at the Parthum School were quite rough in violation of the 150 feet limit talking to people and preventing them from talking to others and accompanying them to vote inside.
The question becomes, how the sudden popularity resulted in votes. As a suggestion, it is important to analyze the means of casting ballots for that answer:
(1) How many votes were cast for the candidate “in person” (at the polls)?
(2) How many votes were cast for the candidate “in person” at early voting?
(3) How many votes were cast to the candidate by absentee ballot and counted?
(4) How many ballots were cast by absentee ballot?
(5) How many absentee ballots were “rejected” and “for what reason”?
(6) How many ballots were cast by mail (other than absentee voting)?
(7) How many ballots cast by mail were “rejected” and “for what reason”?
(8) How many inactive voters appear on the voting list?
(9) How many inactive voters were “challenged” for failing to show identification?
(10) How many people were told not to enter the polling places unless they were voting?
(11) Was anyone scolded for “helping” someone else to place a mark on the ballot?
(12) What happened when a voter finds that someone voted for him/her?
It will be necessary to look at the “hard copy” of the voting list since this is a public record, to see how many inactive voters casting ballots were “challenged for not providing legally required identification”.
Each voter/ballot challenged, for this reason, must be marked on the voting list by the election officer at the polls by marking “CV” (challenged voter) – and also place the name and address of the voter on the back of the ballot, the reason for the challenge (inactive/no id) and the name of the election official challenging the ballot as well.
This will provide the ability to determine whether or not poll workers are “doing their job” by making sure inactive voters are providing lawful identification as required when the ballot is being cast or processed for casting particularly when the ballot is received at early voting and/or by mail without an id. Each voter is also required to complete and sign an “Affirmation of Current and Continuous Residency”. G.L. c. 54, sec. 76B; 950 C.M.R. § 54.04(6)(a) and (b).
The District and at-Large Council races are also surprisingly uneventful. Stephany Infante looks like the favored candidate in District E but it is my understanding that Ms. Infante is an employee of the GLTS and there may be a Conflict of Interest. If she is elected, she will be serving on the board that approves the GLTS Committee Budget (Lawrence Members) (G.L.c. 268A). Such a determination is solely within the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s Ethics Commission, not the City Attorney or other Counsel. If the Ethics Commission determines there is a “conflict”, the resolution of the conflict would be prescribed by the Ethics Commission; otherwise, they may provide a waiver, which is always possible in the Commonwealth.
I also noticed the lack of School Committee candidates in Districts A, B, and D [as well as the sole nominations in Districts C, E, and F] – as you know, this is a direct result of receivership and State oversight. Not sure how many of the incumbents still believe they have a vote that actually counts? That issue will hopefully be resolved in the near future.