Van Campen Proposes Discussion About Election Violations: Public Trust at Issue Following Smith Scandal

January 16, 2013
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Aldermen Robert Van Campen publicly called on Mayor Carlo DeMaria for a Joint Convention of the Board of Aldermen and Common Council and an invitation to representatives from the Secretary of State’s Office and City Clerk’s Office to publicly address the recent election scandal perpetrated by former State Representative Stephen “Stat” Smith in an attempt to instill public confidence in the city’s election systems.

“It has become apparent that some votes in some recent elections were not in fact valid,” said Van Campen, who also noted that a publicly released statement made by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office prosecuted the cases against Smith, had indicated that Smith have been assisted by “other government officials,” without identifying who those officials are or what steps have been taken to ensure the integrity of future elections.

“Our right to vote is the most basic right we have,” said Van Campen, who called for “transparency, openness and fairness” in addressing the recent scandal, so that future election “will be above reproach.”

According to Van Campen, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, whose office oversees elections statewide, has already indicated to the city that his office be paying particular attention to Everett’s elections going forward and with a potential for as many as six elections this year, including Special Elections to fill Smith’s seat, as well as a potential Special Election to fill the seat of U.S. Senator John Kerry should he be confirmed as U.S. Secretary of State, Van Campen indicated that he dopes not feel this discussion can wait.

Van Campen’s motion, was referred to Mayor DeMaria’s office, with a request for a Special joint session on January 28, the date of the next scheduled Aldermen’s meeting.

Chief of Staff Melissa Murphy did address the Board and noted that the Mayor has been equally concerned about the effect the scandal would have on the city and has already been in touch with the U.S. Attorney’s office for information about the case. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has told the mayor that they would not be sharing additional information about the case, until after Smith has been sentenced, which may not be until April.