SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There is controversy surrounding the Springfield mayoral election after allegations of voter fraud were unearthed last week.
Monday 22News spoke with both candidates about their final push to election day.
“We know, and the voters know that they can’t be bought for $10 and a fish sandwich,” stated
Springfield Mayoral Candidate Justin Hurst. Hurst, again refuting claims of voter fraud, as residents ready their ballots.
His campaign team’s been accused of picking up voters, including homeless residents, and paying them $10 for their votes during early voting- an alleged illegal cash-distribution also caught on camera.
Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News, “You know it’s pretty cut and dry here, you have video, you have affidavits on what occurred here and you know to me, it’s the height of exploitation. Exploiting the homeless population.”
Since the allegations were made public, questions have been raised over the timeline of the release of this information, and if it would compromise an investigation.
Hurst adds, “I said before that it was a coordinated effort to mar our campaign and it’s going to do nothing but motivate the masses to come out on November 7th.”
On Hurst’s claims of a motivated political attack, Mayor Sarno coming to the defense of election workers, and particularly City Clerk Gladys Oyola-Lopez, “Her professionalism and integrity is unquestioned,” Sarno adds. “As are the workers down there who really put their heart and soul into what they do there.”
Both Sarno and Hurst, expressing optimism heading into Election Day, “Voting is sacred and we have to protect that trust,” said Sarno. “Now let the legal authorities move forward on it and we’ll go from there.”
Hurst stated, “At the end of the day, the residents and the voters in Springfield know who I am, they know my character and when it’s all said and done folks will know exactly what happened.”
Springfield City Solicitor John Payne has asked the Hampden County DA’s office to conduct an investigation.