With less than a week to go until the election, allegations of voter fraud are emerging out of a hotly contested Boston City Council race.
Community advocates in the city's Chinatown neighborhood are raising concerns over an issue involving absentee ballots.
Jin-Min Cao says a man and woman recently came to his door and asked him to sign a yellow envelope. He obliged.
"They took my ballot and said on Nov. 7, on election day, I didn't need to go vote," Cao said.
The 68-year-old says he doesn't speak or read English, and had no idea there was an absentee ballot inside, usually reserved for voters who can’t make it to the polls.
"They tricked me." said Cao.
Karen Chen leads the Chinese Progressive Association, and she says this is voter fraud. Just in the past week, Chen says her advocacy group saw an unusual spike in absentee ballot requests from several senior apartment buildings in Chinatown. And when they followed up with residents, she says they discovered dozens of instances of the same scheme.
Chen is not naming the people who visited Cao because she's worried about retaliation. But she says they are well known Chinatown operatives for Mike Kelley, now running against Ed Flynn for the District 2 city council seat. CPA's political action committee is supporting Flynn.
"It’s deeply troubling that in an act of desperation, my opponent and his supporters would knowingly disenfranchise voters," Flynn said in a statement.
Kelley did not answer our questions, but denied his campaign's involvement.
"We set the highest standards for our campaign and are outraged at the baseless allegations by an organization supporting our opponent," he said in a statement.
In the meantime, Cao says he's unfazed and is still planning on voting in person.
"It's my right," he said.
Leaders with the Boston Elections Department are trying to reassure the community, but they say it is not their job to investigate if this becomes a criminal matter. Instead, they referred us to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. The DA says so far, no one's made an official voter fraud complaint.