READING — Vanessa Alvarado lost her challenge to the recall petition Wednesday.
The Board of Registrars voted to accept the affidavit, meaning the signatures on the petition had survived the legal test and the Sept. 1 recall election of the Select Board member will go on as planned.
“I appreciate the time and thoughtful consideration the Board of Registrars gave my concerns,” said Alvarado. “I encourage my neighbors to learn about the events that led to this unprecedented situation. Everyone is welcome to contact me directly to chat or visit www.againsttherecall.com for more information. I am honored to serve my neighbors and wish to continue my service for this town I call home.”
Led by former Select Board member John Arena, the names of 2,239 residents were submitted on the recall petition Feb. 20. Alvarado and her attorney Dennis Newman objected in March to the overall petition, as well as 912 individual signatures. The objection led to a series of public hearings with the Board of Registrars that started Monday with a practice session.
Much of the process leading to Wednesday’s decision took place behind the scenes. Twice in June, the sides agreed to the withdrawal of challenges to signatures. First, it was more than 400 signatures, then during a second discussion challenges to 200-plus signatures were dropped by Newman and Alvarado.
With the number down to 238 disputed signatures and the hearings scheduled to start Tuesday, Newman withdrew his objection Monday night to the remaining signatures. He knew even if they were successful, the petition would have 2,001 signatures, one more than was needed to proceed with the election. That meant the second of Newman’s objections on March 20 had been removed.
What was left Wednesday was Newman’s objection to the signatures on March 11 on the grounds they failed to meet four requirements of the town charter including that the signatures were not notarized and not “signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.”
By a 3-0 vote, with Town Clerk Laura Gemme abstaining, that objection also failed.
"As we argued, we believe that the affidavit filed did not comply with the Charter and the recall should not have been scheduled,” said Newman following the decision. “We will review the formal opinion of the Board and consider any and all options."