Lawrence City Councilor-Elect Indicted On Voter Fraud Charges

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A Lawrence city councilor-elect in Massachusetts is one of two women an Essex County grand jury indicted on charges of fraudulent voting in the November 2023 city election there, prosecutors said.

Councilor-Elect Fidelina Santiago was indicted on the following charges: Illegal Voting or Attempt to Vote (four counts), Conspiracy to Vote or Attempt to Vote Illegally (four counts), Unlawful Interference with Voter (four counts), and Obstruction of Voting (four counts).

Additionally, Jennifer Lopez, another Lawrence resident, was indicted on the same charges, Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker announced in a press release this week.

Both women are expected to be arraigned at a later date that has not yet been announced.

The indictments came after the Essex County District Attorney’s Office investigated a referral from the Massachusetts Secretary of State Office.

“Interfering with an election not only undermines the legitimacy of government but erodes the public’s confidence in the process,” Tucker said in the press release.  “My office will vigorously prosecute individuals that threaten the integrity of elections.”

The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit is conducting the investigation, which prosecutors say is continuing.

Santiago won the District A city council race. She beat Vladimir Acevedo by 531 votes to 382 votes — a margin of 149 votes.

However, Acevedo now thinks the election was stolen from him.

“I’m kind of sad because it never should have happened this way,” Acevedo told WCVB. “If you take somebody’s right to vote, we fail. This country fails. That’s the face of the United States of America.”

The voter fraud allegations were discovered after a man went to vote in the November election but was told his ballot had already been cast. 

The District Attorney’s office has not described the details of the allegations against Santiago.

Santiago is scheduled to be sworn into office in early January 2024.

Santiago could not be reached for comment on Wednesday or Thursday.


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