State to scrutinize Cava's election day activity
Updated 9:44 am, Friday, June 14, 2013
His behavior as a candidate on the ballot during the June 4 referendum in Roxbury to fill the town's seat on the education board has been called questionable by some residents.
Roxbury resident Sharon Benedict said she filed a complaint June 6 against Cava with the State Election Enforcement Commission.
The region is locked in a contentious debate on whether to consolidate elementary students from its three towns into one facility.
The candidate who ran against Cava, Jan Steers, said Monday, "I have to stay above this. I have no comment."
Benedict said she filed the complaint because "When I went to vote, Greg was sitting in the building next to his daughter. They were working with a laptop computer.
"I went to register, picked up my ballot and voted. He was still there," Benedict continued. "He was just leaving as I was, walking out with another person and talking actively to them."
Other Roxbury residents contacted The Spectrum complaining about Cava's proximity to the polling in Roxbury Town Hall during the noon to 8 p.m. polling hours on June 4, but wished to remain anonymous.
When told of the allegations being made against him, Cava responded in his own defense.
"I have not received a copy of any notification from the state of any complaint," Cava said Monday. "All I can say is there are no facts to support these allegations. I was in the building that day to vote, as were others."
Roxbury's Republican Registrar of Voters, Martha Munson, said she was aware of "no issues that day."
She said "(Cava) was reminded by the moderator to stay behind the 75-feet line. But we received no complaints about him."
Candidates and advocates for candidates are required by state election law to stand at least 75 feet from the entrance to a polling site.
"Mr. Cava came in to vote. His daughter was there during the polling checking off names on a laptop computer and he came in to talk to her," Munson said. "But other than that, he was outside."
Barbara Henry, Roxbury's first selectman, said Monday she was at other events during most of the hours the polls had been open, but did see Cava that day.
"When I came in to vote, he was actually voting also," Henry said. "Then I saw him one time after that standing by the firehouse. That was a good 75 feet away" from town hall.
SEEC staff attorney Joshua Foley said new complaints will be considered June 19 by the commission at its next meeting. A determination would be made at that time if an investigation would be required.
"The commission as an adjudicating body would assess a violation if one is found to have occurred," Foley said. "A fine for a first offense could be up to $2,000 or a criminal violation would be referred to the chief state's attorney."
The SEEC does not have the jurisdiction to overturn an election, he said.
Cava, who is completing his first term on the Region 12 Board of Education, won the June 4 election by a 227-174 margin over Steers.
"I'm very thankful to the citizens of Roxbury for returning me to the board by a large margin," Cava said Monday. "I am ready to roll up my sleeves and jump in full force dealing with the issues now facing the region."