• Mass. lawmaker to plead guilty to voter fraud


    BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts state lawmaker has agreed to resign and not seek elected office for five years after agreeing to plead guilty to casting invalid absentee ballots in elections in 2009 and 2010.

    Federal prosecutors said state Rep. Stephen Smith, 57, cast the ballots for voters who were ineligible or unaware of ballots being cast in their names.

    Investigators from U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office said Thursday the Everett Democrat - a member of the Election Laws Committee - submitted fraudulent absentee ballot applications for ineligible voters.

    In some cases the ineligible voters would cast the ballots. In other cases Smith would intercept the ballots before their delivery and cast them himself.

    Investigators said Smith, a member of the House since 2007, had help intercepting the ballots from "one or more government officials."

    Smith's plea agreement calls for him to resign Jan. 1. He will plead guilty to two civil rights misdemeanor counts.

    Ortiz said she'll continue "root out public corruption" and said it was "egregious that an elected member of our commonwealth would rob his constituents of a fair and honest election."

    Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston Division, said that over the past two years the agency methodically uncovered the voter fraud scheme.

    An aide to Smith, whose district includes Everett and portions of Malden, said he had no comment.

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