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More than 45,000 people have signed a petition calling for the arrest and prosecution of former President Bill Clinton for what they alleged were violations of Massachusetts election laws — even though state officials have said he acted legally.
Leading up to his wife's victory over U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Massachusetts primary on Tuesday, the former president went inside a polling station in Boston, according to multiple reports. Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and senator, won by about 17,000 votes, according to NBC News.
Bill Clinton talked with poll workers and took a photo with a woman at the Holy Name Parish School's gymnasium in West Roxbury,The Boston Globe reported, citing press pool reports. The petition, posted on Change.org, charges that Bill Clinton made a "clear, knowing and egregious violation of the campaign laws to swing an election in a significant way."
He also entered a polling station in Newton and attended an event outside of a polling location in New Bedford, according to the Globe.
A legal summary from the Massachusetts secretary of state says that on election day, "certain activities are prohibited within the polling location and within 150 feet of the polling place."
"A person standing within 150 feet of a polling location, including observers in the polling location, may not: hold any campaign sign; hand any person literature intended to influence the voter's action at the polls; wear any campaign buttons or identifying signage; solicit a person's vote for or against a candidate or question on the ballot; or, distribute stickers," the document says.
Despite no report of the former president explicitly asking voters to support his wife, the online petition alleges he was "electioneering within the boundary."
Perhaps indicating where signatories' sympathies lie, the top voted comment on the Change.org profile read "I am 100 percent done with the cheating Clintons. They need to be stopped before they destroy our country. #BernieOrBust"
In lieu of commenting on the criticism, a spokesman for Bill Clinton directed CNBC to a report from Boston's WCVB, citing a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. That report said Clinton's actions were legal because no one was prevented from voting, and he never handed out any materials supporting his wife while inside the legal boundaries of a polling location.