Mass. Ballot Commission To Hear Senate Seat Residency Dispute

A Massachusetts election board will decide a dispute later this month between two Democratic candidates for a state senate seat in greater Springfield. Tim Allen has challenged the residency of Eric Lesser – who grew up in Longmeadow, but worked in Washington D.C for the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011. Allen argues that violates an article of the Massachusetts constitution that requires senators to live in the state for the five years before their election.

“Every job has eligibility requirements and that’s all this is about, to make sure Mr. Lesser meets the eligibility requirements,” Allen says.

But Lesser says many other past candidates in Massachusetts, like Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren, have faced similar residency challenges and gone on to the ballot.

“The Ballot Law Commission has said time and time again that you do not give up your ties to your home state when you temporarily work in public service in Washington or anywhere else,” says Lesser.

Lesser and Allen are among 5 Democrats and one Republican running for the senate seat being vacated by Gail Candaras, according to the Springfield Republican newspaper. The state Ballot Law Commission will rule on the issue by June 20th.