Voting Records Rise As Issue
Voting histories for two candidates in the race for state representative of the 19th Middlesex District have raised some eyebrows, but the candidates say this doesn’t detract from why they are fit to be elected.
Voting records from the Tewksbury town clerk’s office show Mark Kratman spent years voting in Boston after he moved to Tewksbury and that Pina Prinzivalli did not vote in local or state elections for a 13-year period.
Kratman, a selectman in Tewksbury and Democratic candidate in the race, voted in Boston from 1995 through 2012, according to the Tewksbury town clerk’s office. He moved to Tewksbury in 2002.
Kratman said he used to work 87 hours weekly at two full-time jobs, was taking care of his home, and his mother, who lived in Boston. Kratman was also helping to pay his mother’s mortgage and said he slept in Boston four to five nights a week.
He said he has nothing to hide.
“It wasn’t an easy life. I think it’s a non-story and was put out by one of the other candidates,” Kratman said. “Nothing I’ve done is wrong if I’m sleeping at a house and taking care of a home.
“People are attacking somebody for taking care of their elderly mother and trying to do the right thing,” he continued.
After Kratman’s mother died and the home was sold, he began voting in Tewksbury.
Debra O’Malley, spokesperson for Secretary of State William Galvin, said voters with more than one home can register at either location, but should register at the place they consider their primary residence.
“I do not know the details of Mr. Kratman’s residency at the time he was voting in Boston, but it is ultimately up to the voter to determine which residence is their primary residence, and any person’s voter registration is subject to challenge,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said any registered voter can challenge someone’s registration by submitting a sworn complaint to the board of registrars or elections commission in their city or town. If the challenge is successful, the person in question could be removed from the voter list. However, a person’s registration can only be challenged where they are currently registered, O’Malley said.
Prinzivalli, the lone Republican candidate, voted in the state election in 2004 when she lived in Saugus, according to the Tewksbury clerks office. She began participating in Tewksbury’s Town Meetings and elections beginning last October.
Assessor records show Prinzivalli purchased a home in town in June 2015. She announced her candidacy last October.
Prinzivalli’s campaign said she voted in the 2016 presidential election and the 2017 town election in Tewksbury. Town Clerk Denise Graffeo said records do not show she voted in either election.
“Our records are very clear and correct,” Graffeo said, when asked about the two votes Prinzivalli’s campaign said are missing from the town’s records. “She registered to vote in Tewksbury on April 3, 2017. She was registered to vote in Saugus prior to that point.”
Graffeo said Prinzivalli was unenrolled in Saugus and registered as a Republican in Tewksbury. According to the records, Prinzivalli first voted in 2004 in the state election as a registered voter in Saugus. She then voted in the local Town Meetings in October 2017 and May 2018 (the May 7, 2018 date states she voted in a local election, but actually was a Town Meeting, according to the town clerk). Records also show she voted in the Tewksbury town election in April 2018.
“I’m 34, and like a lot of young professionals, I spent my 20s focused on building my career,” Prinzivalli said in a statement. “During that time, I didn’t exercise my right to vote because I wasn’t feeling the pressure from an overburdensome government. However, I was awoken to the problems when I became a homeowner and began preparing to raise a family.”
Other candidates in the race are Erika Johnson, D-Wilmington; Patricia Meuse, U-Tewksbury; Mike McCoy, D-Wilmington; Judy O’Connell, D-Wilmington; and David Robertson, D-Tewksbury.
Their voting histories have been relatively consistent in their respective towns. Meuse, the unenrolled candidate, has voted both Republican and Democrat for various primary elections over the years.
Johnson began voting in town in 2011 and there is no record showing she voted in 2015 or 2017. Johnson said she attended college from 2011 to 2015 and was preparing for finals. While getting set up for a family trip to Ireland in 2017, she said she forgot to get an absentee ballot.
“I did my best to come home to vote and was in-person for the high school proposal, which was really controversial in town,” Johnson said.
The primary election for the race is set for Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.