Ballot box security to be boosted following fire
Galvin directs local election officials to enhance protection measures
AFTER A MAN set fire to a ballot box in front of the Boston Public Library, officials are beefing up security aimed at maintaining the integrity of next week’s election.
Secretary of State William Galvin issued a directive to municipal election officials Monday morning that urges them to improve the security of ballot drop boxes.
“As Election Day approaches, there is increased concern over malicious attempts to interfere with ballots and ballot drop boxes,” Galvin wrote. “A recent attack on a drop box in Massachusetts underscores the pressing need for local election officials to re-examine existing security protocols and, where necessary, enhance security of those drop boxes in the days ahead.”
The Boston Election Department notified Galvin that a fire was set to a ballot box outside of the Boston Public Library’s main branch in Copley Square at around 4 a.m. Sunday. Worldy Armand was detained on Sunday night after police released a description of the suspect. Armand was also wanted on a warrant issued in Ipswich District Court for receiving stolen property.
Galvin’s directive strongly recommends local officials add a security detail to drop boxes if they’re not under video surveillance. If there are cost concerns related to providing security, Galvin said his office may be able to help. He is also asking local election officials to empty drop boxes more frequently.
Galvin asked election clerks to establish a clear chain of custody for collecting ballots, and to maintain a log of the date and time each drop box is emptied, who emptied it, and how many ballots were inside each time.
The FBI is also looking into the Boston incident, which city officials have characterized as deliberate.
“Our first and foremost priority is maintaining the integrity of our elections process and ensuring transparency and trust with our voters, and any effort to undermine or tamper with that process must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Galvin and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a joint statement Monday.
Meanwhile, US Attorney Andrew Lelling announced that Assistant US Attorney Eugenia Carris will lead his office’s efforts as part of the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day program to promote the security of next week’s election.
The longstanding program investigates possible election fraud and voting rights violations. That includes voter intimidation, stuffing ballot boxes, buying or selling votes, and other violations of federal election law.“Fair elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Lelling said in a statement. “Every citizen has the Constitutional right to cast his or her vote on election day free from intimidation, harassment and discrimination.”