Ward 22 Democratic Committee member Bart McCauley today defended his Urgent Challenge to Voters Registered from Boston UniversityDormitories. "I have a right to challenge them and that’s what I did," he said in an interview.
The challenge, an "Open Letter to the Media and the Candidates in the 18th SuffolkDistrict Special Election," was sent to the Boston Herald and others on letterhead from "Bart McCauley, Member, Ward 22 Democratic Committee."
The piece contains numerous false claims against student voters. "Few people would believe that the students are actual legal residents of the legislative district," McCauley said. There are "potential legal issues with fraudulent voter registrations," he added.
The challenge has been condemned by the Boston University Free Press. Massachusetts state Democratic Party spokesperson Jane Lane has expressed support for student voters on behalf of the party.
McCauley has every right to his personal opinion. He does not have the right to issue frivolous challenges, or to present himself as a spokesperson for the Ward 22 Democratic Committee. "There are criminal penalties for challenging a qualified voter for purposes of intimidation," says the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Election Day Legal Summary.
The Ward 22 Democratic Committee, led by newly prominent member Mike Moran, should censure McCauley and remove him from the Ward Committee to demonstrate its opposition to voter intimidation. Moran has his first test of leadership.