PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three voters that congressional candidate Anthony Gemma said were questionable because the addresses they supplied are for businesses, all have ties to the property.
During a packed news conference on Wednesday Gemma leveled stunning allegations of voter fraud against his Democratic rival Congressman David Cicilline.
As part of a packet of information provided to reporters, Gemma highlighted 14 voters – of the approximately 102,000 registered in Providence – who he said are registered at locations that aren't homes.
Target 12 verified Gemma's information through the Secretary of States website and visited three locations to check and see if the individuals existed.
Voter Mary Smith is registered at a building on Broad St. that houses a non-profit. An employee there said Smith works at the location and lives right behind the building.
"She uses this as her mailing address," Carol Jones said.
Jones added that Smith became upset when she learned Gemma used her as an example.
"She's a Gemma supporter," Jones said.
Further down Broad St., a voter was registered at a building that houses several businesses including a hair salon and what appeared to be a campaign office for David Cicilline on the first floor.
People in the salon said the person was not there and – though he was not listed on the tax assessors database for the property – they said he was part owner of the building and lived nearby.
Another voter, Carlos Martinez, used an address that came back to a squat cement structure that houses a hair salon and a fast-food business.
Out front a Spanish-language campaign sign with Gemma's face on it swung in the breeze.
Reached by phone Martinez said he used to live at that address until a fire destroyed the building in 2006. He's kept the location on the voter rolls because he sells hair products out of the salon but claims he lives in the area.
When asked he said he is a supporter of Cicilline.
The head of the Providence Board of Canvassers said people should be using the address of where they live, not work.
"We maintain our voters rolls, we are always cleaning up, its an ongoing process, daily," said Kathy Placencia.
Her office is notified by the Secretary of State's office – which gets a list from the Department of Health – when people die and they are constantly updating the voting list.
Newly registered voters are sent a confirmation letter. If those letters are returned because the address is bad, those voters are flagged at the polls and asked to provide identification, according to Placencia.
Gemma did not supply evidence that the locations had any ties to Cicilline or his campaign.
Copyright WPRI 12