Counting the Votes A Year Late? Boston Election Department Identifies Key Write-In Votes In State GOP Committee Race

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Who won the Republican state committeewoman race in the Second Suffolk District last year?

The race happened on Super Tuesday: March 3, 2020. Now, more than a year later, election officials have not declared a winner. But they’re a lot closer than they were a year ago.

The city of Boston finally re-counted votes in the race on Saturday, March 26, and came up with a leader:  Nicaela Brady Chinnaswamy. She was one of three write-in candidates in the race in March 2020, alongside Rachel Kemp and Eleanor Greene.

The recount isn’t over. The city’s Board of Election Commissioners is set to continue the recount at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 31 at Boston City Hall.

As of Saturday, March 27:  Chinnaswamy has 65 votes, Kemp has 52 votes, and Green has 50. That’s an interim total of 167 votes among  the three candidates. To win the race, a write-in candidate needed a minimum of 50 votes for the Boston Election Department to certify the results.

However, when the election took place, the city counted far fewer votes than 50 for either of the three candidates. Before the recount, the official record said that there were 25 votes for Chinnaswamy, 9 votes for Kemp, and 6 votes for Greene. The official record also noted that there were 217 write-in votes for other candidates. However, it was never clear who those other votes were for.

Chinnaswamy told NewBostonPost in an email message on Sunday that she was happy to pick up the new votes, and she declared victory.

“I’m elated that my struggle to have the votes counted and be victorious is finally over,” she wrote. “I look forward to being seated as the 2nd Suffolk State Committeewoman and begin the hard work of rebuilding the party in this district.”

Complicating the situation:  In the absence of an official winner, the local Republican Party held a caucus in December 2020 to elect a committeewoman to the Massachusetts Republican State Committee to represent the Second Suffolk District:  Eleanor Greene, one of the other two candidates in March 2020, won it.

The status of the seat is now up in the air.

The more-than-one-year delay from the Boston Election Department is frustrating for Republicans in the state, including Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Jim Lyons.

He also said it’s an indication of a broken voting system.

“What does it say about the Boston Election Department that a year after certifying just 40 write-in votes spread across three candidates, today they somehow managed to ‘find’ 167 votes?” Lyons said in a press release. “This is an indication that the Boston Board of Election Commissioners is either completely incompetent, in the pocket of the Democrat Party machine, or both. Everyone on that commission should have to resign immediately. The recount proves that Boston Election Division actively disenfranchised Republican voters a year ago, and they should have to answer for that.”

In the wake of this news, Lyons also accused the Boston Election Department of purposely keeping Randolph resident Rayla Campbell off the ballot.

“Based on this information we can also safely assume this same Democrat electioneering machine successfully worked to knock another Republican write-in candidate, Rayla Campbell, off of the November ballot to ensure that incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley wouldn’t even have to campaign last fall,” Lyons said in a written statement.

Lyons added:


If the Boston Election Division can successfully disenfranchise Republican voters in the March 2020 primary, you have to believe they did the same to voters who wrote in Rayla’s (Campbell) name last September.

They didn’t count lawfully cast ballots. The system is absolutely broken, and this is the evidence. Every single member of that commission should resign immediately. Election integrity in the city of Boston is a failure.


The city’s Election Department could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

Campbell ran an officially unsuccessful write-in/sticker campaign in the September Republican primary in hopes of earning the party’s nomination to appear on the November 2020 ballot. Campbell officially received 1,202 votes — short of the 2,000 necessary to earn the nomination.

Campbell received 568 certified write-in votes in Boston in the September 1 primary out of 1,867 write-in votes cast, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division.

The press release put out by the MassGOP over the weekend argues that Campbell might actually have gotten the number of write-in votes she needed.

“The recount rate established Saturday, if applied to Campbell’s Sept. 1 totals, would have Campbell potentially receive over 2,000 votes in Boston alone, more than enough to qualify for the November ballot,” the Massachusetts Republican Party said.

Campbell agreed, stating in the press release, “This is an example of one-party Democrat control that violates my rights, and disenfranchises Black Republican conservative voters in the city of Boston. After learning about the dramatic change during Saturday’s recount, how can any Republican voters think otherwise?”

Campbell could not immediately be reached on Monday.

It’s unclear if the Boston Election Department miscounted Campbell’s election results in the same way city officials did with the state committee race.

Chinnaswamy, a 28-year-old Mission Hill resident, has volunteered on many campaigns in the state. That includes former Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Jennifer Nassour’s city council bid in 2019, according to The Jamaica Plain Gazette.

The press office for the city of Boston could not be reached for comment on Monday to explain why it took city officials more than a year to announce the winner of this race.