Ed Lee's voter fraud problem

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I realize that Mayor Ed Lee has denounced what appears to be clear voter fraud, but he has a problem and it's not going to go away. Lee has allowed himself to be surrounded by the same sort of sleaze artists who circled around the administration of Willie Brown, doing the same sorts of things. And simply calling this crew and its actions "moronic" isn't going to cut it.

Does anybody really believe that there's no connection at all between Lee and the San Francisco Neighbors Alliance or the other independent expenditure committees working for Lee? No way that Rose Pak, Lee's friend who meets with him regularly, is communicating with Enrique Pearce, the consultant for the IE, who worked with Pak on the Run Ed Run committee?

Does anybody really believe that this kind of activity would continue if Lee really wanted it to stop?

Lee's supporters say the guy is new to this level of politics and is a little naive about the rules. Sorry -- that's not an excuse. The last thing we need is a mayor who doesn't understand how important honest, open government is and who can't figure out how to keep the likes of Enrique Pearce in line. Because then we get Willie Brown all over again.

Brown's administration was full of lobbyists and so-called independent operators who had the mayor's ear, got what they wanted -- and had no accountability to anyone. Brown also had some problems with election laws.

This is a bad sign, and the district attorney ought to be investigating, fast -- and releasing the results before Election Day.

 

Comments

any different from the links between, say, Avalos and some of the Unions? Any group that is affected by an election but can't vote (e.g. unions, businesses) is naturally going to seek to use whatever influence they can.

The word "sleaze" carries connotations but insofar as interested parties sail close to the wind, we should ask for indisputable evidence before making accusations that otherwise can simply be dismissed as partisan pandering.

You haven't offered any evidence, facts or proof to support your allegation. Until you do, this article is little more than, well, sleaze.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am

HI -- My name is Malana Moberg. I'm not affiliated with any of the mayoral campaigns -- and I witnessed this activity on Friday. I saw Ed Lee supporters (wearing Ed Lee for mayor shirts etc) completing ballots for people on the corner of Pacific and Stockton. I do think it is very sleazy and if I saw a Union member doing the same thing for Avalos -- I would also report to authorities and be very disgusted by the perpetrator and the candidate. I personally hold our rights and duties as Americans to vote very seriously and anyone or any group that impinges on my rights or duty (or anyone else’s) is SLEAZY!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

about people helping others to complete ballots? Obviously they should not be deceiving those voters about who or what they are voting for. But if you ask someone if they'd like to vote for Lee and they agree, then helping them complete that vote isn't a big deal, ethically.

It's not much different from a "Slate" which also effectively guides people on how to vote.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

Anonymous -- why don't you tell me your name and your affiliations then I'm happy to continue this conversation. By the way - I did produce the "evidence" you were looking for -- I was a witness to this activity and reported what I saw the state elections department.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

with it. I help my Grandma complete her ballot. Problem?

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

It is illegal and punishable by a $10,000 fine for someone to fill out someone else's ballot or even to peek at who's they're voting for. Elections Code Section 18403 makes it illegal for "Any person other than an elections official or a member of the precinct board who receives a voted ballot from a voter or who examines or solicits the voter to show his or her voted ballot." This section also makes is a crime for independent expenditure groups to take possession of a completed ballot, which Malana and other witnesses also reported see.

Posted by steven on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 9:37 am

changed as a result. If not, then the fact that A "saw" B's completed ballot, while being a technical infringement of an election rule, is not materially affecting the election result. Nor if they helped them complete their ballot.

In practice, any ballot completed by mail can potentially be both seen and influenced by others. My wife asks me how to vote on certain issues she doesn't understand. Problem? Illegal?

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 10:03 am

No, whether votes changed is of course not the real issue at all.

The real issue is to -not- allow campaign workers anywhere near voters or their ballots, ever.

To do so inevitably destroys the sanctity of U.S. elections. (That sort of crap was rampant when African Americans first got the vote, and it demolished the democratic process.)

You know, now that you have proven to be such a disgusting twink about all of this, I agree with the others who have said they hope you go to prison for what you have done.

That would be a good outcome for a piece of shit like you with no respect for democracy.

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 10:46 am

How about because they're wearing Ed Lee paraphernalia in the presence of someone filling out a ballot. If it was the official campaign, that would be a violation already. In other words, they're skirting the law with a loophole.

Also, they've been seen taking the ballots into their possession. IEs definitely are not allowed to turn in your ballots.

Posted by Justin on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 1:05 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

are you telling me that i am breaking the law? I don't think so.

Campaigns give people rides to the voting location, advise them on who to vote for, issue slates etc. etc. Nothing wrong with it as long as there's no deception.

A close-knit community like ChinaTown will have a tendency to vote as a block. Always has done.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

Close family members are allowed to assist - not campaign workers...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

from helping a supporter to be able to vote for that candidiate successfully.

And many voters are influenced by others in their voting decisions.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

We are, as you know full well, talking about the -ballots- themselves. The law is clear on this point. Campaign workers are not allowed to help voters fill out and mail their ballots. And they certainly are not allowed to -collect- ballots from voters. All of which is exactly what they were caught doing in Chinatown.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

with any reference to a statute that says what you claim.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

ELECTIONS CODE Section 3017 Notwithstanding subdivision (a), no vote by mail voter's ballot shall be returned by any paid or volunteer worker of any general purpose committee, controlled committee, independent expenditure committee, political party, candidate's campaign committee, or any other group or organization at whose behest the individual designated to return the ballot is performing a service. However, this subdivision shall not apply to a candidate or a candidate's spouse.

Section 18371 (a) No candidate or representative of a candidate, and no proponent, opponent, or representative of a proponent or opponent, of an initiative, referendum, or recall measure, or of a charter amendment, shall solicit the vote of a vote by mail voter, or do any electioneering, while in the residence or in the immediate presence of the voter, and during the time he or she knows the vote by mail voter is voting.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

This Epoch Times article is even more troubling, implicating the actual Lee campaign, and not just supposedly independent IEs:

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/san-francisco-mayoral-camp...

Posted by Jeremy on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

and fill out your ballot for you.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

ballot as long as they understand what you're doing and agree with it. Many old people need help with voting - we saw how easily they were fooled in Florida, 2000.

In fact, with postal ballots, you never really know whether the ballot was completed by somebody else helping them.

It's just a slightly more mechanized version of a slate.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

If they're just trying to help people vote, why wear Ed Lee gear and make suggestions about candidates?

Posted by Justin on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

Those rides that help old people get to the polls. You think they're not campaign workers?

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

Of course you can transport people to the polls. That is a totally different issue.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:23 pm
Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

that one of them is illegal, and one is not.

Are you ever going to give up?

Or are you one of those losers who simply must get in the last word no matter how much of an idiot he's making of himself in doing so...?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

Nonsense Anonymous. Filling out someone's ballot for them is illegal.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

I don't think you can.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

I don't think Eric knows what a "statute" is. He's an armchair lawyer fond of citing domestic and international law as backing for his opinions but then when asked to cite the rule - he falls silent.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

It's right on the CA Elections web site (which you could have easily looked up yourself) at:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_m.htm#vote-by-mail

Which contains the following clear language for absentee voting options:

"You may return your voted vote-by-mail ballot by 1) mailing it to your county elections official; 2) returning it in person to a polling place or the elections office in your county on Election Day; or 3) authorizing a relative or person living in the same household as you to return the ballot on your behalf. Regardless of how the ballot is returned, it MUST be received by the county elections office by the time polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots will not be counted."

No one besides a designated, family member, or designated member of your own household, may help you with your absentee ballot, period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:34 pm
Posted by Barry on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

illegal for someone other than a close family member to help someone compelte a ballot. I didn't see those exact words anywhere there.

You can seek the assistance of anyone who you believe has your interests at heart. It doesn't have to be a spouse or a blood relative.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

The CA Elections site would of course not have used such specific wording about household and family members, if the law allowed anything else.

In any case, others have now posted the pertinent statutes for you and everyone else to read.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

gone to another candidate. I've seen no evidence that that is the case.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 6:14 am

Even if every single one of those voters intended to vote for Lee (and its pretty clear that some of them didn't even know what was going on, let alone who the candidates are - including Lee) what the campaigners did was still blatantly illegal. Your claim is false.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 9:59 am

Section 3017 of the California Elections Code says that no vote by mail voter’s ballot “shall be returned by any paid or volunteer worker of any general purpose committee, controlled committee, independent expenditure committee, political party, candidate's campaign committee, or any other group or organization...”

Section 18371 of the same code states that “no candidate or representative of a candidate... shall solicit the vote of a vote by mail voter, or do any electioneering, while in the residence or in the immediate presence of the voter, and during the time he or she knows the vote by mail voter is voting.”

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/san-francisco-mayoral-camp...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

Aside from potentially violating the mail-in ballot rules, if these volunteers had any connection to the Lee campaign, it sounds like a violation of Cal. Elections Code section 18371.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

Wearing a button doesn't make you "connected" to Lee. It can be a neighbor, church leader, civil leader, business colleague or anyone not formally employed as a campaign worker.

They can be advised by a campaign, as well, and that's what happens with all campaigns.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/ELEC/1/d18/4/7/s18371

CAL. ELEC. CODE § 18371 : California Code - Section 18371

(a)No candidate or representative of a candidate, and no proponent, opponent, or representative of a proponent or opponent, of an initiative, referendum, or recall measure, or of a charter amendment, shall solicit the vote of a vote by mail voter, or do any electioneering, while in the residence or in the immediate presence of the voter, and during the time he or she knows the vote by mail voter is voting.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

ballot papers were campaign workers? Merely wearing a button doesn't prove that. That law draws a clear, bright line between official campaign workers (who are generally few in number) to the much larger group of people who can legally advise and assist those who wish to vote for the candidate they support.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

"...and no proponent..."

Wearing a campaign button is being a proponent of a campaign.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

A bumper sticker on my car doesn't make me a campaign worker.

Big difference.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

You're hurting your case at this point, guest. Try spinning a bit more creatively, please.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 12:21 am

Its not about the law, its that it looks shady. The fact that you have already had to post 10 messages on here linguistically twisting in all sorts of different directions only goes to prove that.

The point of raising this isn't because we are trying to throw the Mayor or his campaign staffers in jail. Its to point out that he is surrounding himself with people who do shady things and maybe people should think twice about voting for him.

Since you are a big supporter of his I can understand why that line of argument wouldn't work on you, but if Herrera/Yee/Chiu/Avalos supporters were caught doing this I'm sure you wouldn't see it as perfectly acceptable.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

it's supporters vote for their candidiate.

Where I see a problem is if they are helping voters - maybe who don't even speak English - vote for a candidiate that they don't support i.e. fraud.

This isn't fraud. It's support. These people would have voted for Lee anyway.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

Go back and read the statutes you whined for and then were posted here.

Your disagreement with the law does not change the law.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 9:55 am

THe law seems to make a distinction between a campaign representative helping you fill out your ballot (no good) and a representative of an "independent expenditure" operation helping you fill out your ballot (possibly technically legal).

But election law is pretty clear that nobody working with any kind of group can collect the ballots and mail them later. That's a clear violation, and there's certainly some evidence that it was happening here.

The bigger point, though, is that this operation stinks, and Ed Lee is tainted by it, esp. since the people involved are and have been his allies and insiders.

 

Posted by tim on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

was deceptive, meaning that it will cause votes to be changed, then there is no basis for believing this will have any effect on the result.

These were all Lee voters anyway, so it's a non-issue.

Tim, please, can we discuss the issues and not all this endless dirt?

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

Prove it.
Or shut up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 6:25 pm
Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 6:20 am

Not on the people whose ballots those workers were illegally marking and illegally collecting.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 7:16 am

officially part of a campaign.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 25, 2011 @ 8:59 am