Franklin alleges petition ‘fraud’ by two city candidates

Mary Franklin, a Boston mayoral hopeful who did not secure the 3,000 verified signatures required to make the citywide ballot, alleged this week that two candidates who did clear the hurdle to join the race used misleading tactics to ensure their presence on their respective ballots.

In a letter to city Election officials, Franklin asserts that “fraudulent campaigning” took place on behalf of at-large city council candidate William King and mayoral candidate Joseph Wiley.

Editorial: Getting on the ballot should be a challenge

“They targeted vulnerable communities that are traumatized and suffering from unemployment, gentrification, violence and unsolved murders,” she wrote.

In a letter to the city, Franklin asserts that passersby were urged to “sign for lower rent” on ballot petitions, with no mention of either person’s candidacy. She asked that Wiley be disqualified from the race and the signature gatherers apologize to residents.

“I’m shocked,” said King, 27, in a phone interview on Tuesday. He and Wiley used the same signature collector company— Alexander Arsenault —but did not coordinate efforts. King said he brought on friends and family at first before hiring Arsenault to pull through the last leg to 1,500 verified signatures.

“Everyone who went out to gather signatures with me, I talked to and supplied with literature on my position so I can educate the residents of Boston,” said King. “It’s always been my script that I tell people to use… we’re trying to collect signatures to get William King on that ballot for at-large.”

Lower rents and affordable housing are part of his platform, King said, but clearly in the context of seeking the office. To his knowledge and in his observation, King said his signature collectors behaved ethically.

Wiley did not responded to Reporter request for comment.

Franklin said the signature collectors defrauded community residents at Washington Park Mall in Roxbury and later at South Bay Mall in Dorchester between June 2 and June 23. “To provide evidence of my allegations,” she wrote, “I have video and a petition signed by approximately 200 citizens who have personal knowledge of the incident and who believe Wiley's signature collectors acted unethically.”

A spokesperson for the city said in an email that the “Elections Department has received the letter and the legal department is currently reviewing.”