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Sec. Galvin Defends Use of Absentee Ballots

absentee ballotBOSTON (AP) — The state’s top election official says he’s reluctant to tighten access to absentee ballots, even after a Massachusetts state lawmaker agreed to plead guilty to casting invalid absentee ballots.

State Secretary William Galvin said he wants to know who might have helped Rep. Stephen Smith. But he said clamping down on absentee ballots could make it harder for some voters, including overseas military personnel.

Prosecutors say in 2009 and 2010 Smith obtained absentee ballots for voters who were ineligible or unaware. They say in other cases, the 57-year-old Everett Democrat would intercept the ballots and cast them himself.

Smith has agreed to resign and not seek elected office for five years.

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