Just over two weeks before election day, allegations of voter fraud carried out by agents of an independent expenditure committee created on behalf of Mayor Ed Lee threw a curveball into the San Francisco mayor’s race. Lee has been the clear front runner for months.
Volunteers for Sen. Leland Yee, a mayoral candidate, accused Lee supporters working on behalf of the San Francisco Neighbor's Alliance in Chinatown of marking ballots for San Francisco voters, guiding ballot selections with stencils, and collecting ballots in a bag, in apparent violation of election law. Videos of a voting station where the activity occurred were shot by Yee volunteers and aired on major media outlets.
An onslaught of questions about these accusations were directed at Lee at a campaign event Oct. 24, in which Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor, announced his endorsement for Lee’s candidacy. Lee sought to distance himself from the independent expenditure committee in question, saying his own campaign has kept things clean. The mayor said he supported his rivals' calls for investigation into any "fishy business," and supported the idea of bringing in federal election monitors.
Here's a video of Lee getting the third degree from reporters at the press event, which was held in the office of a SoMa-based tech company called BranchOut.
Video by Rebecca Bowe