By: Tom Duggan – August 8, 2014
LAWRENCE, MA – Lawrence State Representative Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) says he favors Voter ID and says that as a Dominican he is “offended” when he hears people say that those who support voter ID are “racist”.
“I am for Voter ID, it’s a matter of transparency”, Devers says. “I am on the Black and Latino Caucus in the legislature and I have told my colleagues, I am from Lawrence, I have seen the voter fraud that goes on at election time and we need Voter ID. I love my party but this is where we part, voter ID is something that will make sure the fraud we have seen in Lawrence in recent years doesn’t happen anymore.”
Devers is seeking reelection to the legislature and is facing two primary opponents in November; former mayor William Lantigua (I), and Lawrence City Councilor Roger Twomey (R).
Former Mayor Lantigua, known as the “Fraudfather of Lawrence” was defeated in his bid for reelection last November by Latino City Councilor Dan Rivera, who also supports Voter ID. Mayor Rivera was able to squeak out an 84 vote win over Lantigua, but not without the help of heavy hitters in the Democratic Party descending onto Lawrence to make sure Lantigua didn’t cheat as he had in previous years.
Facts on the Ground Dispel Myth of No Voter Fraud
United States Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Staff, Congressman Niki Tsongas, the entire state Democratic State Party leadership and Democrats from every surrounding city and town’s Democratic city and town committees flooded the city of Lawrence on election day, and again during the two recounts to make sure the election wasn’t stolen by Lantigua’s fraudulent voters or manipulating results.
“We are going to make sure Lantigua doesn’t cheat this time,” Councilor Rivera said at the time. “We are going to be watching him, we are going to be watching his supporters and if they try anything this time we are going to be ready.”
“I think we definitely need Voter ID, it’s for everybody,” Rivera said on 980WCAP’s Paying Attention Radio Program last year. “And if there is an elderly person who doesn’t drive we have to find a way to help that person vote. There’s no reason [why we can’t]. I mean we put a person on the moon. We have phones that you can use without wires. We can figure out a way so that we can know who’s voting and this is a process we can all feel good about.”
“If there is no voter fraud, why did the entire party in Massachusetts have to come to Lawrence to make sure Lantigua didn’t cheat,” Democrat State Rep. Frank Moran of Lawrence (who is Latino) asked at the time. “If we needed that many people to stop the fraud then it’s pretty obvious we need voter ID.”
Video Strategy Stopped Illegal Voters in 2013
Wayne Hayes, President of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association in Lawrence, and a Democrat activist helped to organize an effort last year to stop the voter fraud that he said has been “plaguing” the City of Lawrence for years.
“We had people with video cameras outside certain voting precincts with signs to let people know we were recording everyone going in and out of the polling places. We have videos of people getting out of their car to go vote, saw the signs and got back in their car and drove away. There is no doubt in my mind that we stopped at least a few hundred people from voting illegally,” Hayes says.
“We have had enough of people pretending there is no fraud,” Representative Devers says. “We have had enough of the shenanigans. Voter ID won’t stop all the cheating, but it will be much harder for people to get away with what we have seen here in the past.”
“I love my party and my friends in the Democratic Party, I consider myself a good Democrat,” Devers continued. “But we have to understand that saying there is no voter fraud is just not true. It’s not right. We know. We live in Lawrence. We know it, we have lived it. When I was mayor for a short time I tried to implement Voter ID in Lawrence. I tried. We almost made it. It was my opponent (Willie Lantigua) who put a stop to it. All these years later we now know why.”
Dominicans Need Voter ID to Vote in Dominican Elections
Devers says that the claims by some in his party and the media who say that requiring an ID to vote will be unfair to the poor and minorities is “just not correct”.
“When Dominicans vote in the United States for the Dominican elections we have to show an ID. It is required in Dominican elections here and in the Dominican Republic. We are not racist against ourselves,” Devers says.
“It is curious to me that Dominicans with dual citizenship need to show an ID to vote in our Dominican elections right here in Lawrence, but we do not need an ID when we vote in American elections in the same polling precincts. In the very same buildings we vote in local and national elections. When I am reelected I will not waiver on this issue. We need to preserve the integrity of our voting. We need to protect the most sacred right of being an American. The right to make sure our legitimate votes are not negated by people who live in other communities, other states or people who are not citizens. That’s the most basic right.”
Devers says that voters in Mexico and Puerto Rico also have to show an ID to vote in their home countries “and the poverty in those countries is far worse than the poverty we see here.”