Against Voter Fraud Protests, Worcester Mayor Plays the Race Card

Scandalous. Word is in that, at a meeting of the Election Commission Thursday night concerning the massive voting irregularities witnessed by volunteer poll observers this past November (see my “Massive Voting Fraud Reported in Massachusetts“), Worcester Mayor Joseph O’Brien (D) said of those citizens who had volunteered their time and reported in all good conscience on what they saw:

These losers apparently don’t like advocate groups like Neighbor to Neighbor because NTN supports people of low income, minorities, whose skin color isn’t the same as ours. (emphasis added)

Here is video of the mayor’s remarks:

This is the treatment that the volunteer overseer of democracy can expect from elected officials for his or her efforts.

As I reported previously, voting had hardly begun in Worcester, an urban area west of Boston, before word began coming in of questionable activity, mostly centered around community organizing group Neighbor to Neighbor, or N2N. N2N workers were escorting voters in to the polling places and pointing to the boxes on the ballot the voter was to choose. They were accompanying voters in to the booth as “translators” even though the ballots had Spanish translation. As one volunteer observer noted:

The machine for the visually impaired speaks Spanish, no help needed. I saw food exchange hands in return for the vote. Collecting people at the food pantry, posting ballots on car windshields. Ballots prefilled out brought in as guides to voting, helpers actually voting for the person. One person — I am sure a helper — voted at least 20 times! (emphasis added)

While many in the leftist establishment undoubtedly hoped that the events of last November would disappear down the memory hole when the carpets were rolled up after election day, and the volunteers all went back to their day jobs, that simply hasn’t been the case. In spite of having many other personal obligations, and facing an uninterested government bureaucracy, a small group of stalwarts has continued to agitate in favor of keeping American democracy credible.

One such stalwart, Desiree Awiszio, reported from the meeting:

This entire evening was orchestrated […]. [Worcester Mayor Joseph] O’Brien wanted to shut us down tonight. The Worcester Mayor and N2N worked together as a team! […] I saw Mayor O’Brien emerge from his office and say hello and chat with all the N2N people. They all went into the meeting room together. They took up most of the rows, and the 5 of us sat in the front row […].

[…] Chairwoman Dube (Democrat) announced that the agenda has been changed at the request of the Mayor (just like that). They wanted to jump to the second item about election day complaints. Then, she said “the Mayor has a statement.” Up walked O’Brien. He said that only the “few” who filed these complaints are making claims like this about Worcester voting. He said he hasn’t heard it from any other citizen (implying what we are doing must not be true and we’re just a bunch of liars). He said this is all because we “don’t like the outcome of the election” (in other words, you bunch of sore losers — you lost statewide, it’s all sour grapes). Then he went on to praise N2N as some holier than thou group doing all the good in the world to help voters. Then he said those of us who are pollwatchers and filing these complaints are doing this, because we “don’t like the color of someone else’s skin” (we were furious — he’s calling us racists). He went on to say that “this has been going on for 4 months now and needs to stop” (he wants to shut us down – he doesn’t want the press attention — he knows it’s effective)… (emphasis added)

If there was one thing Awiszio wasn’t about to be, it was shut down. Here she describes her turn at the podium:

[…] Clearly, I wasn’t going to sit there, and let the Mayor’s remarks which impugn, malign, and denigrate our integrity and character go unanswered. So, I put my remarks in the context of what we’ve been trying to do from the start with the commission, about the problems found and the work involved to bring these to their attention in detail and the laws that are being broken, that these are all legitimate violations. I went on in that context and they couldn’t stop that […]. I also said that “this is not about one election. Many elections are lost, many. This is about insuring voter integrity,” and I used that as the way to get back on the Mayor again. I went on to say that his claims were “outrageous” and that he is “accusing citizens who volunteer their time as pollwatchers of being racists by saying we don’t like the color of someone else’s skin.” Again, I stated how “I summarily resent and reject this partisan political statement by the Mayor and that it’s outrageous.” I left the podium…

One can imagine how galling it was for Awiszio to see the mayor and members of N2N debriefing in the hallway after the meeting, “They were out in the hall laughing it up and enjoying themselves talking.”

Smearing political opponents is nothing new, nor is playing the race card when you know you’re holding a losing hand. In this respect, Worcester Mayor O’Brien is following in a long tradition. He certainly knows what side his bread is buttered on. Neighbor to Neighbor and similar groups are an integral part of the institutional left’s re-election strategy. The fact that they tread the gray areas of election and charitable laws isn’t a bug. For pols like O’Brien, it’s a feature.