Amid 3rd District Recount, State Takes Control of Lowell, Lawrence Election Offices

(Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

Secretary William F. Galvin is exercising state control over election offices in Lawrence and Lowell, his office said Monday. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin is taking direct control over election offices in Lawrence and Lowell, citing staffing concerns and “administrative errors” in the wake of last week’s primary.

As a result, Galvin—using his authority under state law—will appoint officials to run any upcoming recounts and oversee the November 6 state election. With the calendar quickly counting down to the first Tuesday in November, the situation has become dire, Galvin said.

“The inadequate staffing of an election office so as to interfere with the orderly administration of an election constitutes a practice or procedure of a local official which is contrary to election laws. A determination has been made that this matter constitutes urgent circumstances,” Galvin wrote in a letter to Lawrence city officials.

Galvin’s office also said errors in Lowell-based ballot processing led to his taking control of future election activities, including absentee and early voting.

Monday’s news of the executive oversight comes on the heels of Westford Democrat Lori Trahan’s assertion that her lead over Andover’s Dan Koh has more than doubled.

Trahan, who declared victory last week with a 52-vote lead, said newly certified results from city and town clerks, has increased her margin over Koh by 131 votes. The certified results now include provisional ballots cast. Trahan offered remarks during her “Women for Lori” rally Saturday in Lowell.

“A big part of campaigning is about building trust with the people you will represent in Washington. I believe it is vital for everyone to have confidence in the result of this week’s primary, and I respect the right of the Koh campaign to pursue a recount,” Trahan said. She added, “But I continue to believe that when all the votes are counted again, I will remain the Democratic nominee for Congress.”