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Marlboro's example; Alleged voter fraud attempt thwarted.

COLUMN: IN OUR OPINION

The indictment of former Marlboro City Councilor Mark Evangelous on charges of voter fraud is disturbing news. The former public official is alleged to have forged the name of a deceased 89-year-old city resident on an absentee ballot application submitted ahead of last fall's municipal election.

Such actions are a direct assault upon the fabric of democracy and must never be tolerated. But this week's indictment also serves to underscore how serious Massachusetts is about prosecuting suspected voter fraud, and just how well prepared a community can and should be in detecting such cases.

State law calls for a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison for anyone who commits voter fraud. This case must, of course, proceed to trial and Mr. Evangelous both is presumed innocent and deserves a full and vigorous defense. If, however, the state proves its case, the full weight of the law should be brought to bear here, as it should be in any such case.

Marlboro officials deserve credit for a job well done.

Mr. Evangelous, who served as Ward 5 councilor in Marlboro from 1996 to 2004, was one of eight candidates for four councilor-at-large seats in the 2011 election. The absentee ballot application was reviewed promptly and checked against a list of residents. It was quickly determined the name given was that of a nonvoter who was deceased. The case was referred to Marlboro police, who worked with Middlesex District Attorney Gerald T. Leone to bring these charges. We hope the state's other 350 cities and towns take this opportunity to ensure their election procedures are as effective and efficient as Marlboro's.

Our nation is blessed to be one in which the people are able to express their will through free and fair elections. As disappointing as a case such as this may be, it also offers proof that the rule of law prevails in America, and the foundations of our democracy remain strong.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 2, 2012
Words:332
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