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First Chinatown, now East Boston: Elections Department to let absentee voters fill out new ballots

The Boston Elections Department reports it will hold absentee ballots in District 1 (East Boston, Charlestown and the North End) until the end of voting tomorrow "due to anonymous concerns" about ballots there.

Last week, the department voided six ballots in Chinatown (which is in District 2) and gave the people whose names were on the envelopes new ones over concerns about "vote farming" - in which volunteers from one council campaign allegedly scooped up blank ballots sent to elderly residents.

In East Boston, the department says it has no similar evidence, "just being proactive."

And it definitely has nothing to do with the fact that Martin Kain, a top official in the department who lives in Dorchester, gave $1,000 to candidate Stephen Passacantilli. The department says:

Employees can legally donate to a candidate. We expect service of high ethical standards in conducting elections & our staff provides that.



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To coin a popular phrase so to speak. Kain is about as untouchable as one can get.

That said... when he pissed off Menino (20 years or so ago?) they went after him tooth and nail. In the end, and after all was said and done in a court of law, Menino and his henchmen lost and Kain kept his job.

They tried to fire him charging he was ineffective, but it was proven that his superiors, under directive from above, pulled all of his resources and set unrealistic deadlines making it impossible to do his job. The plan was to force him to resign thus ending any claim at salaries due, retirement funds, etc. etc. That didn't work. He fought back.

Let's also examine this... "scooped up blank ballots..." Remember, these are sent US Postal Mail. If these were scooped up as the story at UH suggests, then we are not looking at election fraud as much as we may be looking at postal fraud.

Kain won't bend rules. That is what pisses off some fo the people at City Hall.

FWIW, this is what the people around him say. I don't know him personally. as to the earlier problem, Google is your friend.

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Actually, "scooping up" is a pretty accurate description. The ballots may be sent by mail but when they go to buildings with multiple residents, there is a lot of wiggle room. In the North End there is a tradition of "helping" elders to fill out their ballots. Also, it seems a little odd that so many elders vote by absentee ballot when they actually live in the building where the polling place is located. As for Mr. Kain, I don't know him but I guess he is unfamiliar with the concept of "appearance of conflict." If you are a top official in the elections department, perhaps you should refrain from giving huge donations in district elections. And speaking of huge donations, why is Stephen Passacantilli getting so many from out of state?

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When elections officials donate to candidates that creates the appearance of a conflict of interest. It's clear that it would best if election officials did not donate to candidates. The city could make that a job requirement if it wanted to eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Unsung Hero?

Filling the gap and training a new generation

Always 2 sides to all stories.

As to contributions... Any City, State, or Federal employee can contribute to any campaign they so wish. It is not illegal. Imagine if the several hundred temporary polling place workers were prohibited from making campaign donations. You'd never get people to fill these seats. While there, they ARE employed by the city and have the same obligations as a full-time union employee. The difference is that they are "casuals" and have no union protections.

As to filling these seats, no election goes by without shortages to fill these vacancies. It is a thankless job that starts at dawn and ends will into the evening. Few have the commitment to stay all day, or even half a day, and usually after a couple of stints they bail. It takes commitment and a belief in the integrity of the vote and democratic process.

They are special people IMO

FWIW, Kain is no longer in charge of seating vacancies. That is another person's job... actually 2-3 persons these days. Kain does training (see above).

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