FOX Undercover: Former residents casting Boston ballots - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

FOX Undercover: Former residents casting Boston ballots

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Krystina Chan voted in Boston's Sept. 24 preliminary election, helping whittle down the field of 12 mayoral candidates to the current two. Problem is, she didn't live in Boston when she voted.

Chan lived in Malden, where has lived since June.

"I just moved out of Boston," she told FOX Undercover.

Chan is one of several Boston voters identified by FOX Undercover who cast a ballot in the September mayoral election but who didn't actually live in the city when they did. Considering the small number of voters checked, the findings suggest the problem is much greater.

Part of the problem may come from legitimate confusion over the rules. Some voters and even one of the mayoral candidates thought there is a grace period for voters who recently moved out of the city to still be able to vote there. Not so, according to Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin, who said that, unlike state elections, there is no grace period for municipal elections.

Then there are voters who use "mattress addresses," a widely known secret involving voters who claim to live in the city while living in another community.

Whatever the reason, Chan even asked friend on Facebook, on the day of the preliminary, "Do u know if I'm still registered in ctown?"

"I think u are," her friend replied.

"My whole family lives here," she told FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.

"But you didn't live here when you voted," Beaudet replied.

"I just recently moved out. So I hadn't changed my voter registration," Chan said.

"Did you know that once you move out of the city you can't actually vote?" Beaudet asked.

"No," she replied. "Why would I vote if it was against the rules? Why would I do that?"

"I don't know. That's why we're asking you," Beaudet said.

Also saying he didn't know the rule is John Fitzpatrick. He moved to Saugus in January but also voted in September from a Charlestown address.

"You live here (in Saugus), why are you voting in the preliminary election?" Beaudet asked him last week.

"I just sold in January," he replied.

"But the election was last month. You live in Saugus, why are you voting in a Boston election?" Beaudet asked.

"Well I'm not a resident here yet," he said.

Actually he is a resident of Saugus, because residency kicks in once a move is made.

"Did anyone ask you to vote for a certain candidate?" Beaudet asked him.

"No, absolutely not," Fitzpatrick replied.

"Was it part of some movement to get people who didn't live in the city to vote?" Beaudet asked.

"Not that I know of," Fitzpatrick replied.

We found other examples of questionable voting.

James Greatorex and Michael Leonard are Boston firefighters who both own homes in Reading. They both signed homestead declarations, filed with the Registry of Deeds, saying their homes are their primary residences.

But city voting records show they both voted from Charlestown addresses during the preliminary election.

They both told FOX Undercover that they have always lived in Charlestown and that their wives, from whom both say they are separated, live in the respective Reading homes.

Another Boston voter isn't afraid to admit he doesn't live in the city. Richard O'Mara, the well-known owner of Cedar Grove Gardens in Dorchester, is registered to vote using his business address. But he has actually lived in Brockton since 2012.

"My identity is as a Bostonian. I spend more waking hours in the city of Boston than I do elsewhere. To tell me I can't vote, to me seems a little bit ridiculous," he said.

Gerry Cuddyer, chair of the Boston Board of Election Commissioners, said she hopes the voters we found were mistaken about the rules.

"But if they intentionally voted in the city of Boston knowing that they had no right to vote in the city of Boston, as a lifelong Bostonian I have to tell you, I'm really upset about it," she said.

"It seems like it would be pretty easy for someone to vote if they had been registered in the city in the past, even if they moved out?" Beaudet asked her.

"I don't think it would be easy. I think you would have a certain amount of moxie, we'll call it, to go out and do that," she said.

Cuddyer says her office looks into allegations of voter fraud that are reported as long as people sign their name to the complaint. Her office does not follow up on anonymous tips, even though the anonymous tips investigated and confirmed by FOX Undercover raised some serious questions about who's voting.

Any voter or the candidates can challenge a voter's residency at the polls, and Cuddyer said she would look into the voters identified by FOX Undercover.

Both mayoral candidates said they were concerned.

"The state should look into it, the city should look into it, it's against the law. It shouldn't happen," said Marty Walsh, the legislator from Dorchester.

But even Walsh wasn't clear on the rule that you can no longer vote in a municipal election once you move out of that municipality.

"I know if there are rules that if you move out of the city I think you have a year or so to reregister. if it seems to be a pattern something should be done," Walsh said.

Walsh's opponent, City Councilor John Connolly, called it "outrageous" that people living outside the city were voting in the city election.

"Are you concerned this could be a bigger problem?" Beaudet asked him.

"Well this is the first I'm hearing of it but it certainly concerns me if there could be a pattern there," Connolly said.

Both candidate flatly deny encouraging voters who live outside of the city to vote for them.

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