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Kitty Dukakis's visits to Hingham polls annoy some residents

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 2, 2010 05:17 PM

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Far far away

Kitty Dukakis, the wife of former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, showed up to the Hingham polls today, but not to vote.

Dukakis stood near the voting area of all three of the town's polling stations, greeting voters on their way in, a tactic that angered many sign holders and voters.

“I had one of the candidates ask me about it, and some other people said something to police, saying they didn’t think it was right,” said Eileen McCracken, the Hingham town clerk who was at the Hingham High School polling station.

According to McCracken, Dukakis stood outside the high school for an hour. When voters and sign holders started complaining that she wasn’t adhering to the requirement to stand 150 feet away from the voting area, McCracken called the secretary of state.

“She had been here for about an hour, and the secretary of state said that she was here too long – that she was a walking billboard [for Democrats],” she said.

Al Cafferty, a Hingham resident holding a sign at the required 150-feet distance from the polling place, said, “I saw her when I was walking in [to vote]. She just said hello, and I said, ‘I’m a Republican.' "

Although Dukakis had no paraphernalia on her and was apparently not soliciting for specific candidates, she was asked by police to either leave or stand with the other sign holders.

Rosemary Motta, a Hingham resident campaigning for US House candidate Jeff Perry out front, said she expected Dukakis would go somewhere else and do what she did at the high school.

And in fact, Dukakis went to the Lindon Ponds community, another Hingham polling station, shortly after her Hingham High visit.

After she left that location, Dukakis went to the polling place at Hingham Middle School.

According to Lieutenant Michael Peraino with the Hingham Police Department, the police were informed of Dukakis’s trips around town and were prepared to deal with them.

“Someone came and told us she was soliciting votes for the Democratic Party, and I went out and went over [to the middle school], and as soon as she saw me, she said, ‘I’m leaving,’” Peraino said.

To Assistant Town Clerk Patricia Rawl, who was working at the middle school today, there was no excuse for Dukakis’s actions.

“[The 150-foot restriction], it’s not a new thing,” Rawl said. “It was intentional and it’s not right.”

“It’s just a sign how hard everyone is fighting to win,” she said.

Neither Kitty nor Michael Dukakis could be reached for comment.

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