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Debate erupts over readiness of oversea ballots

US Senator Scott Brown is threatening to sue Secretary of State William F. Galvin for not sending out absentee ballots to military personnel and other Americans living overseas by a prescribed federal deadline - a charge that Galvin said is baseless.

An attorney at the Worcester firm that represents Brown’s campaign said in a letter dated Sept. 24 that the problem stems from “reported delays in the delivery of the ballots’’ by Galvin’s office to local city and town clerks. The federal laws requires the absentee ballot be available 45 days before the election. This year, that deadline was Saturday.

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The lawyer, Vincent DeVito, did not point to any specific problems or provide details in his letter. He did not immediately return calls from the Globe seeking clarification of his charges.

But Galvin blasted back at the charge, saying his office worked last Saturday to deliver the ballots to all of the state’s local election officials by the deadline. He said all the communities have received absentee ballots. Each town and city clerk is responsible for sending ballots to those requesting them.

“This is all created out of whole cloth,’’ said Galvin. “It’s an effort to politicize the absentee voting process when in fact the only scandal we had is a Republican absentee ballot scandal in East Longmeadow which I made sure was prosecuted.’’

DeVito said his law firm, Bowditch & Dewey, would seek ‘’injunctive relief’’ to force the secretary of state’s office to ‘’immediately produce and deliver the ballots’’ to those citizens living overseas seeking to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

Frank Phillips can be reached at
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