City Hall Leak Under Investigation
A political candidate says his opponent's wife pulled his voting records from the Election's Department. Attleboro's personnel director wants to know how he received this information.
Paul Heroux, Democratic candidate for state representative of the 2nd Bristol District (which includes most of Attleboro), blasted incumbent George Ross for his wife Jeanne allegedly pulling Heroux's voting records from Attleboro City Hall. Nobody contacted by Attleboro Patch will confirm this allegation, but city Personnel Director Jan Silverman said she is investigating how Heroux obtained this information.
"I am looking into the matter," said Silverman on Friday. "Since I just heard about this earlier today, I have no information at this time."
Heroux said the person who told him the story is not a city employee, but he declined to identify the informant or say whether he or she gave him a first-hand account.
Voting records are kept by the city's Election's Department. Marianne Draine, the department's office manager, declined to comment for this story. She referred all questions to Silverman.
Heroux issued a press release early Friday morning accusing Ross of "looking for dirt."
"There is no value in my voting record unless Rep. Ross is going to use it adversely, to accuse me of not voting," Heroux wrote. "We should be debating the issues and solving problems, but Ross [is] looking for dirt on me. My voting record has nothing to do with how I am going to reduce tax waste in Massachusetts or fight for mental health services in Attleboro."
He continued, "The fact of the matter is that if I didn't have a voting record, after demanding a clean campaign, Rep. Ross would have used dirt against me to make me look bad. I have a voting record and unfortunately for Rep. Ross, he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar."
Ross declined to comment extensively for this story.
"This is a non-story," he told Patch. "Voting records are public records."
Patch obtained the voting records of both candidates from City Hall after Heroux issued his press release. The documents show that Ross has consistently voted since 1997, the year the city began keeping computerized records.
Heroux, who has lived in Attleboro most of his life and turned 18 in 1995, did not vote in Attleboro until the 2008 general election, according to the documents. He voted again in the special U.S. Senate election in January 2010 as well as the November 2010 state election, the November 2011 local election, the March 2012 presidential primary and last month's state primary.
Since Heroux began voting in Attleboro, he failed to cast ballots in the November 2009 local election and the state primaries in December 2009 and September 2010.
Heroux told Patch he also voted for president in 2004 while attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I was not politically active before that," Heroux said. "I was working with kids. It was when I came back from Saudi Arabia (where he worked at Al Rajhi bank) back in 2003, that's when I started to become politically active. I started to appreciate the importance of voting because of my experience of seeing world affairs first-hand."
As for the gap between 2004 and 2008, Heroux said he was living in London for part of that time and did not know how to vote absentee. He also said, "There weren't any races that piqued my interest during that period."
A previous version of this article stated Paul Heroux did not vote in the May 2010 special state Senate election. Heroux was not a resident of the district involved in that election at the time, so he was not eligible to vote.