Indian American goes to court to block certification of Massachusetts Senate race


An Indian American, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 and again this year, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the certification of the Sept. 1 Republican primary and the Nov. 3 general election in Massachusetts.

Shiva Ayyadurai, in his complaint filed Nov. 20, claims that Secretary of State William Galvin ordered electronic voting machines to delete ballot images after votes were counted.

Ayyadurai, who is representing himself, was seeking an injunction that would have blocked the certification of the Republican Senate primary and the general election Senate race that was won by incumbent Ed Markey, a Democrat.

“Chain of custody has been broken, no transparent audit of the ballot images used for tabulating the vote count is possible and the declared numbers are unreliable,” Ayyadurai wrote in his complaint. “Only a hand-count of paper ballots submitted in both the primary and the Senate races can restore the credibility of the vote count.”

The election results were certified and approved by the Governor’s Council Wednesday afternoon.

In a preliminary ruling Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge noted Ayyadurai “allegedly received” the information about the deleted ballot scans from the primary in September but waited until weeks after the general election in November to file his complaint. In a separate lawsuit against Galvin earlier this year, Ayyadurai claimed Galvin “coerced Twitter to delete plaintiff’s tweets claiming the defendant unlawfully destroyed Republican primary ballots.”

Ayyadurai did not file an affidavit in support of his motion requesting a preliminary injunction. He also failed to serve Galvin’s office or make a good faith effort to resolve the issue with attorneys for Galvin’s office, the court said. The court said it would reconsider the motion if he tried to resolve the issue with Galvin’s office and filed an affidavit supporting his claims.

In 2018, Ayyadurai received 3.39 percent of the vote when he ran for Senate as an independent candidate. This year, he ran as a Republican but lost to Kevin O’Connor in the Sept. 1 primary. He also ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign in the Nov. 3 general election for Senate.

Ayyadurai, who was born in India, holds four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including a Ph.D. in biological engineering. He claims to have invented email as a high school student in New Jersey in the late 1970s, but that claim has been widely disputed.

In his 2018 campaign against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Ayyadurai appeared in a live stream with Matthew Colligan, a white supremacist who participated in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA. His campaign slogan in 2018 was “Only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian,” a reference to Warren’s claim she is of Cherokee descent.

More recently, Ayyadurai has been accused of using social media to spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those claims was a January 2020 social media post claiming the coronavirus could be treated with vitamin C and that COVID-19 had been spread by the “deep state.”

He accused Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of being a “Deep State Plant,” and called for Fauci to be fired.