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Certain observers raise town ire at primary

'Intimidation' alleged of 'Show ID to Vote' presence

April 18, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — Town officials are extremely upset over the conduct of outside observers during last Tuesday's Special Election primary, alleging voter intimidation.

"I've worked in government 20 years and never witnessed what I saw on Tuesday," said Town Manager Christopher Clark. "There are five towns in the district, and we're the only one" to whom the observers came en masse.

Specifically, Clark is referring to people representing Empower Massachusetts, a group that erected a "Show ID to Vote" billboard downtown shortly before the primary. The Worcester-based, Tea Party-oriented group's website claims they intended to "be present at both the primaries and the general elections" for the 6th Worcester race and another special election in Waltham on the grounds their observers would "insure the integrity of the vote."

In practice, however, that meant a presence only in Southbridge, as far as the 6th Worcester went. Spencer Town Clerk Jean Mulhall said only one observer was present at her polls — a man who represented the Joanne Powell campaign.

"He came in the morning and by 2 p.m. he was gone," she said.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

Janines Frostee
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