, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 16, 2013

In Newburyport, anonymous election flyer tactic draws outrage

Unsigned mailer decried by candidates, COW


“To me it looks like someone’s forum, making a political statement. I just don’t understand why people are so charged up about it,” Sullivan said, adding he spent some of yesterday knocking on doors.

Elizabeth Heath, president of COW, yesterday vehemently denied her group’s involvement, saying the non-political group always puts its name on distributed materials.

“I’m concerned it’s going to tarnish our reputation because these are not the tactics we would ever use,” Heath said.

Concerning to resident Susan Crawford is the effort made to masquerade the mailing as an official correspondence from the city.

While Crawford called the flier’s message debatable, she said the flier could cause considerable disruption to voters who may have been thrown into thinking it was a change in voting location or some other crucial piece of information. However, a quick glance at the address page shows the word “notice” spelled incorrectly.

The flier became a heavy topic of conversation on the Facebook page of “The Newburyport Blog,” drawing comments from City Councilors Ed Cameron and Ari Herzog.

It was pointed out during the Facebook discussion that, according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 55, any political group, individual, association or committee spending more than $250 to mail political materials after the 10th day, but more than 24 hours, before the date of any election, shall file a preliminary report within 24 hours of making the independent expenditure. The report would include the name and address of the person or persons responsible for the mailing. Failure to do so could result in jail time and a hefty fine.




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