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Worcester City Clerk MIA After Election Rules Flap

Friday, November 02, 2012


City Clerk David Rushford has been silent since it was revealed that the rules for election observers he distributed run counter to the rules set out by the Commonwealth's Secretary of State's Office.

Following allegations of improper conduct at polling locations during September's state primary election, the City's Election Commissioners developed a list of recommendations for poll observers during the general election, which included requiring them to sign in at polling stations, provide identification and wear badges. The Board requested that they be presented to the Secretary of State's office to determine if they could be adopted locally under state laws.

Conflicting Rules for Observers

At a Board of Election Commissioners meeting Monday night, Rushford told officials that the Secretary of State's office had issued new rules for election observers requiring them to show photo identification, wear badges identifying themselves as poll observers, and prohibiting the taking of photos or videos within polling locations.

Rushford claimed that the new rules were announced during a training session held by the Secretary of State's office in Worcester last week and that they would apply statewide.

However, Michelle Tassinari, director and legal counsel for the Secretary of State's Elections Division, issued a letter to Worcester Election Commissioners the following day refuting all of Rushford's statements after they appeared in a newspaper article.

Tassinari wrote that there is no requirement for observers to show photo identification or wear a badge, and that pictures and video, but no audio, are allowed within polling places but with certain conditions to preserve the secrecy of ballots and not intimidate voters.

She added that there has been no new adoption of rules or regulations regarding election observers this year, and that the information regarding such procedures is distributed to each municipality prior to elections and has been in place for several years.

In addition, no local training session was held. Representatives from the Secretary of State's office did hold an informational meeting in Worcester last week for groups and organizations interested in the procedures for observing next week's election. Tassinari said that Rushford was invited to attend, but he was not present.

No Response from Clerk

"While we reached out to Mr. Rushford two weeks ago to offer our assistance with training the City's poll workers, including matters relating to election day procedures and observers at the polls, he declined," Tassinari wrote.

"Further, we requested that he provide us with his training materials he intended to sue for the City's poll workers, but we received no response to the several requests we made for these materials."

Due to the discrepancies between Rushford's statements and state rules and regulations, the Secretary of State's office directed the Election Commission to take immediate corrective action if such policies had been instituted and provide a statement detailing the steps taken to put local election procedures in line with applicable state laws, practices and procedures.

How or why Rushford came to present such contradictory information regarding the rules for election observers remains unclear as he could not be reached on several attempts for comment.

A meeting of the Board of Election Commissioners has been scheduled for 6:00p.m. Friday in City Hall to address the inconsistencies.

Answers Needed

"We need a direct explanation from the Clerk as to why this confusion resulted, and anything less is specualation on our part," said City Councilor Konnie Lukes.

"Our real goal here is to prevent any more miscommuncation and have an election that is going to be free from controversy."

While additional deliberation and research will be needed to determine how the error occurred, Lukes said, the more important question right now is how to correct it before Election Day.

"I'm very disappointed in the Clerk's behavior," said Chris Pinto of the Worcester Republican City Committee.

"I do have confidence that if the Election Commission does their job and directly interacts with the Secretary of State themselves, things will improve." 


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Stephen Quist

During a training session here in Worcester last week the Sec of state office issued new guidlines that actually made common sense that originated here in Worcester by our very own election commission.
There is quite apparent mixed messages eminating on the state level that is just troubling and quite frankly untenable.
kape kod konnie again playing out her personal vendettas against the honorable and above reproach City Clerk is just plain disgusting but not at all unexpected from an alleged motor vehicle tax evader like kape kod konnie

Stephen Quist

that a spokesperson for the city republiCant committee is again attacking our City Clerk is nothing new - the spokesperson has been attacking our election processes here for over 2+ years now based on falsehoods and innuendos..........just another reason the teapartiers/activators/republiCants get no traction at all when seeking office.....they in no way shape or form are reflective of the concerns and needs of the people they would purport to represent

Tax Payer Citizen

Stephen, do you realized that the City Clerk lied?
Warren,Andrews,Binienda and now the Worcester City Clerk and none of the Liberals seem to care.

Harry Huckum

Who are you a spokesperson for Quist? The toilet cleaners union?

Sandy Williamson

Quist, as usual, knows so much that just isn't true.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Sadly, tainted elections have become a symbol of Worcester.

It seems Democrats can't win an honest election - so they just rig them.

Edward Saucier

Very interesting. That's not like the City Clerk who is usually on top of things. Saying things that are not in accordance with state regulations knowing they will be printed in the local newspaper doesn't make a lot of sense. Seems that something is going on behind the scenes, I wonder what it is?

PS - Worcester has never had "tainted elections." True the Vote likes to make you think every state election is "tainted."

Stephen Quist

City Clerk David Rushford is above reproach and works to assure ALL voters have unfettered access to cast their ballots. David Rushfords integrity and leadership is what makes Worcester elections stand head and shoulders above all others.
The extremists teapartiers/activators are all to willing to 'create no existant issues', creat havoc and chaos at the polls and suppress those willing to rightfully cast their ballots. While some of these extremists are vocal lcal they have to count on bussing in the outta towners to bully and intimidate voters and bully those trying to cast their rightful ballots......how un-American and quite frankly disgusting

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