EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Bristol man and his son have been charged with voter fraud for allegedly using the wrong address when they cast ballots in the September primary elections.

C. Richard Costa, 77, and his son, Keith Costa, 45, of 69 Harlem St., East Providence, were each charged with one felony count of fraudulent voting, according to the state police.

They were arraigned Wednesday after they turned themselves in at state police headquarters in Scituate and were each released on $1,000 personal recognizance.

The Costas had registered and voted in September’s Democratic primary using an address of 175 Taunton Ave., East Providence, the location of Keith Costa’s business, James Auto Body, state police told The Providence Journal.

The charges against them stemmed from a criminal complaint filed by a member of the state Board of Elections.

Richard and Keith Costa’s names had figured in allegations of voting irregularity in which several political candidates challenged a total of 287 voters. They contended that the East Providence Board of Canvassers failed to protect the integrity of the voting process during the primary.

The city’s Board of Canvassers has identified 28 suspect voters who twice have been asked by certified mail to confirm their home addresses.

If they show up at the polls without confirming that they live at the addresses on their voter-registration cards, they will be asked to sign an affidavit asserting that they live where they claim.

Several candidates had wanted 287 people put on a list of suspect voters who would be granted provisional ballots that would be counted only after their home addresses had been verified.

Michael Robinson, a Republican running for the House from District 64, filed suit earlier this month asking the Superior Court to order the Board of Canvassers to clean up the voter registration list.

After a conference with Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini, Robinson and several other plaintiffs agreed to take their complaints first to the Board of Canvassers and then, if necessary, to the state Board of Elections.

Ultimately, the Board of Elections told the Board of Canvassers not to take any action on challenges to the voting list until after the election.

Raymond Marcaccio, legal counsel to the Board of Elections, said earlier this week that, except in extenuating circumstances such as death or mental incompetence, the law forbids canvassers from removing people from voting lists within 90 days of an election unless they request it.

AP-ES-10-30-04 1109EDT


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