City Manager Tom Ambrosino has forwarded a letter to the Secretary of State’s Office to look into “irregularities” in the Nov. 3 City Election as requested by the City Council last week.
Ambrosino sent the letter out on Dec. 1 and said that, while he didn’t find any major problems with the election during a discussion with City Clerk Debbie Clayman, he had no problem fulfilling a request of the Council.
“They asked me to send a letter and I have no problem doing that,” he said. “Typically, if the Council asks for something within reason, I’ll do it. There’s nothing unusual about allegations of election irregularities. It seems like a reasonable request. I also want the Secretary of State to know our local election officials here looked into this and didn’t think that they found anything extraordinary.”
The letter to Attorney Michelle Tassinari of the Secretary of State’s Office indicates that the Council in Chelsea wishes the state office to look into the allegations and determine if an investigation is warranted.
“(City Clerk) Clayman believes strongly that none of the complaints which the Board of Registrars received involved any material violations of election laws, nor did the alleged conduct infringe in any way on the rights of voters or candidates,” the letter read. “Nonetheless the City Council has approved a motion formally requesting that your office take an independent look at these issues. If your office does decide to make any inquiries into this matter, City Clerk Clayman and I are available to provide you with whatever information or assistance you require.”
The Council voted the order in at last week’s Council meeting by a vote of 6-3.
The issue behind the order, which was offered by Councillor Clifford Cunningham, has sharply divided the local political scene and is based on questionable campaign activities performed by employees of the Chelsea Collaborative, who also operate two voter initiatives in Chelsea as part of the organization’s duties.
The matter has struck a chord on both sides, with many believing a line was crossed, and just as many believing that those who campaigned acted on their own time and within their Constitutional rights. The issue of race has also been breached, making the discussion all that much more sharply divided.
Cunningham has previously forwarded his concerns to Clayman in a detailed list of incidents.