City Councilor Sarai Rivera was up in arms after witnessing alleged voter suppression at the polls in District 4 during Thursday’s state primary election.
According to Rivera and several other witnesses, a woman acting as a poll monitor at 50 Murray Avenue in Precinct 10-3 turned away voters who did not present identification and attempted to photograph the IDs of others.
Massachusetts state law does not require voters to present identification to vote in elections.
“I cannot have people coming and intimidating the voters in my district,” Rivera said.
Rivera and Jose Ramos, president of the Murray Avenue Apartments Association, reported witnessing four voters get turned away from the ballot box for not providing identification on Thursday afternoon, rendering them unable to cast their votes.
“She was telling people they couldn’t vote,” Ramos said.
Another two voters were initially turned away, but Rivera intervened and they were able to get their votes in.
At one point, the individual attempted to stop Rivera from assisting a voter after he had asked for her help.
When Rivera began speaking to the voter in Spanish, she said the individual took out her cell phone and began recording the conversation, before proceeding to attempt to photograph the voter’s ID.
Rivera reported the incident to the police, and when officers arrived they asked the individual to put her phone in her car.
The individual refused to do so, and she was escorted out of the polling location by police.
According to Rivera and Ramos, the Assistant City Clerk visited 50 Murray Avenue Thursday morning after another individual was observed engaging in similar behavior.
The City Clerk’s Office did not immediately return a call for comment.
“I’m really proud of my residents,” said Rivera.
“Our vote is our voice, and we need to be heard.”
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