Portsmouth canvassers to decide on alleged voter fraud today

Board could recommend criminal charges against one voter

EastBayRI.com ·

PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Board of Canvassers is expected to make a decision today, Dec. 2, on whether to pursue any action against an individual involving a possible case of voter fraud during the Nov. 8 election.

Jacqueline Schulz, Portsmouth’s registrar of voters, would reveal only scant details of the allegation, but said it involves just one vote.

“During the process of our audit, we discovered a discrepancy that needed to be reviewed,” Ms. Schulz said Friday morning.t

The three-member Board of Canvassers is meeting at Town Hall at 1 p.m. Friday. (Town Hall closes at 2:30 p.m. on Fridays.)

“It’s going to be an executive session. I’m just going to present my findings to the board and there will be a discussion,” Ms. Schulz said, noting that the private session is necessary because board members will be identifying the specific individual who’s the source of the alleged voter fraud.

The board will then make a recommendation to Ms. Schulz as to what action should be taken. That could involve a criminal complaint to the Portsmouth Police Department, she said.

Voter fraud is considered a felony and can involving voting casting more than one ballot, voting in a district in which the person does not reside or voting under someone else’s name. Anyone convicted of such as crime could land in prison for up to 10 years and/or be fined between $1,000 and $5,000.

Lingering too long?

In an unrelated matter, Ms. Schulz was asked about complaints made to her office regarding any political candidates who some believe linger too long at the polls on Election Day.

“We have received that at every single election,” said Ms. Schulz. “The truth is, our polling sites are like a public meeting. Anybody can be there unless they’re electioneering — if the candidate is actively trying to elicit votes or handing out election paraphernalia. Anybody can be an observer, come into the polling site, sit down and observe what’s going on.”

Candidates who are actively campaigning — such as with signs and greeting voters — must be at least 50 feet away from the entrance to the polling site, she said.

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