Voting in Massachusetts has gone relatively without issue, state leaders from the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition said.
The national Election Protection hotline, which has more than 2,000 volunteers in Massachusetts, had received over 400 calls in the state by 4 p.m., representatives said in a news conference on Zoom. While some calls reported issues at polling places, they had largely been resolved.
“I think overall, today has gone more smoothly nationally than we had feared,” Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said at the news conference.
Wilmot added that “there certainly have been a number of issues that have arisen both nationally and locally that typically do happen.”
Coalition members said they worked with local officials to resolve reported issues, which included broken voting machines in some municipalities.
Some Boston residents received robocalls asking them to “stay safe and stay home” rather than going to vote.
Reports in several municipalities concerned the practice of electioneering. Expressions of support for a political campaign within 150 feet of a polling place are prohibited under federal law.
While North Adams was included on the Lawyers for Civil Rights’ list of communities with “aggressive” electioneering in support of President Donald Trump, officials at the city’s polls said Tuesday afternoon that they had observed no illegal activity.
Towns with aggressive Trump electioneering include: Seekonk, Burlington, Pepperell, Ware, Hubbardston, Dartmouth, North Adams, Palmer & North Attleboro.— Lawyers for Civil Rights (@LCRBOSTON) November 3, 2020
One voter had complained of a truck with a Trump flag in a public parking lot across the street from the polling place, but the truck was a legal distance from the building, said North Adams City Clerk Deborah Pedercini.
“The truck was clearly over 150 feet away, so it was his right to be there,” Pedercini said.
“I want to note that they are permitted to engage in that activity in Massachusetts so long as they have not been within 150 feet of the poling location’s door,” Sophia Hall, supervising attorney for Lawyers for Civil Rights, said in the Election Protection news conference.
Some North Adams voters wore masks indicating support for Joe Biden but cooperated when asked to turn the masks inside out, said Erik Thomas, a North Adams Police patrolman at the polls Tuesday. Others wearing “Make America Great Again” hats removed those hats when requested.
Reports from the town of Hanson in Plymouth County alleged that multiple voters wearing items stating “Black Lives Matter” had been told they could not enter a polling place because they were electioneering, the Election Protection coalition said.
“Make America Great Again” counts among the phrases prohibited for serving “to solicit a person’s vote for or against a candidate,” according to an advisory from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.
Phrases such as “Black Lives Matter,” however, are permitted because they are “not explicitly tied to the campaign or campaign material of a candidate, political party, or ballot question.”