Ed Lee Ballot Scandal Spawns Difficult Legal Questions



The only law definitively broken by the pro-Ed Lee volunteers caught on film filling out and collecting ballots in Chinatown was the law of common decency. The introduction of a stencil-like device that allows people to expediently vote only for Lee and his chosen items introduces a literal aspect to the notion of "machine politics." This coarse and unseemly behavior hearkens to tales of Tammany Hall -- but at least the chislers of old were discreet enough to conduct their business behind closed doors.

While seven of Lee's mayoral opponents have fired off a letter to state and federal authorities requesting intervention, the missive is not particularly strongly worded. It notes that, if the aforementioned allegations are true then they may violate state and federal law. Asked what election laws, if any, have allegedly been violated, half a dozen legal experts gave SF Weekly roughly the same reply: Answering that question would require several hours of scouring the state and federal codes. This task, apparently, is being left for the recipients of the candidates' letter.

That being said, this is a potential political black eye for the mayor and yet another example of -- at the very best -- mortifying behavior from Lee's supporters. At worst, of course, multiple felonies have been committed. Filling in others' ballots is one thing. But collecting them is something else entirely -- and perhaps a far graver matter. "What if they saw a person didn't vote for Lee and threw that ballot away? That is a problem," says Alix Rosenthal, an attorney and former president of the city's Elections Commission. "Given the city's concern with the custody of ballots from the moment they're printed, this should raise the city's hackles."

The collection of the completed ballots, as caught on video and as recounted by eyewitnesses, is the most clearly problematic element of this budding scandal, which is awaiting its own "-gate" suffix. If you're not an absentee voter or the spouse, family member, or legal representative of one, it's hard to conceive of a scenario in which handling others' completed ballots is acceptable.

Tweed by Nast.gif
In San Francisco, Tweed never went out of style...
As far as filling out others' ballots, there are provisions on the books allowing third parties to aid the blind, disabled, infirm, and others. U.C. Irvine law professor Richard Hasen notes that this has led to numerous allegations of the line between assistance and voter fraud being crossed at nursing homes. For it to happen in broad daylight on a street corner, however, is a new one.

Determining whether laws were broken, then, requires gauging voters' intent. Bob Stern, formerly of the Center for Governmental Studies, says there'd be nothing particularly wrong with voters approaching the pro-Ed Lee booth and saying "I want to vote for Lee but I don't know how. Can you help me?" On the other hand, "you can't give the ballot to someone else and simply say 'Vote for me. I'll sign the envelope.'"

Since the people accused of wrongdoing are working for an independent expenditure committee not officially tied to Lee's campaign -- he's already decried them as "moronic" -- it's hard to envision a scenario in which the mayor faces any penalty other than horrible press. (Or perhaps not -- in its initial writeup of the incident, the Chronicle's headline claimed candidates' joint request for an investigation was a move "To Hurt Lee." This framed the call for a free and fair election as desperation tactics from political rivals trailing in the polls).

If the law is relatively unclear at present, Rosenthal predicts that may soon change. "What this will probably result in is a new [city] law prohibiting this kind of activity."

As Stern put it, "if there isn't a law against this, there should be."

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Outland10
Outland10

And all these bagged ballots will get counted, no problem? Take back SF. Occupy the Elections Department.

Jan Blum
Jan Blum

In the South, in, the time preceding the Civil Rghts era, this "help" with voting would have been clearly labeled vote tampering and  electron fraud,  Can't imagine why we don't call it what it is.  

sfsoma
sfsoma

This is how things will be if we elect Ed Lee or Gascon. Just like they were under Willie and Gavvy and Kamala. The Official City Family is officially corrupt.  Think twice before marking your ballot.  Homeless, INC, and Randy Shaw are the antithesis of democracy along with the Chinatown poverty pimps.

Jerry Jarvis
Jerry Jarvis

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.”

troubled
troubled

The allegations are much worse.  Paul Currier has more of the story as posted on SFGATE.  The SRO collaboratives, funded by DBI, pay CCDC and YHC to protect tenants.  Apparently they are using them too."the Lee Campaign has access to the internal resident files of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. The THC is a Randy Shaw operation, and recipient of many tens of millions of dollars from the City's Care-not-cash Program. The THC, as Mr. Shaw's operation is known in the Tenderloin has over 22 SRO Properties. Those thousands of tenants all have Tenant Reps who were presured to be advocates for Jane Kim in her 2010 Supervisors Race funded partially by a $10,000 dollar campaign contribution by Willie Brown. Enrique Pearce ran the Kim Campaign with funding and strong Chinese Community support from Rose Pak and operates the same operation that has committed the voter frauds and felony election frauds, by people who have been collecting ballots from the Chinese Community on Stockton Street, in the news. I have personal friends who have asked me, how the hell did the Ed Lee campaign get their unlisted phone numbers? For Jane Kim and Ed Lee to use the internal private client records of the recipient Non-Profits, such as the THC, for voter fraud is beyond unethical. Any investigation into the THC Tenant Reps, who work at and are compensated by the SRO Collaborative will yield more evidence of fraud, ballot tampering, and organized pressure on the poor people for their votes so as not to loose programs. Mayor Lee, like Mayor Newsom before, both cut deeply into the programs for the poor, and the poor are in real fear. What I see is the link between the offices of Jane Kim at City Hall, the offices of Ed Lee as Mayor, and Rose Pak as well as Mr. Pearce and the others from the Kim for Supervisor in District 6 Campaign. Willie Brown is in the middle of this, and the District Attorney needs to recuse himself from this investigation and turn the whole case over to the Feds. There is too much Official Corruption in the Official Family for the DA to be impartial here."

PaulCurrier
PaulCurrier

Please post, repost, tweet and re-tweet, if you are part of the 99%

"THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.   "SAN FRANCISCO — California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is endorsing his hand-picked successor for the mayor’s office in San Francisco." - WAPO

Again I posted my comment: There is much more going on in this San Francisco Mayor’s race, which should attract national attention. The fraudulent conveyance of public property for private gain by Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, Gavin Newsom, and the Lennar Real Estate Development Company and others is one prime example of a very real $20 billion dollar graft, where State of California is the big looser. The 450 acres at issue is what is known worldwide as Treasure Island, the Pacific Fleet Headquarters for World War II after Pearl Harbor was destroyed. SF Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee are key to the coverup of this crime. Now Kim’s campaign operation has been caught red-handed in wholesale voter fraud, elections fraud, and conspiracy to illegally use the illegal votes of Chinese Nationals in a California Election. The idea that the Bank of China wants to buy Treasure Island and build a new “Manhattan on the Bay”, with 200 story high-rises and all is the back story here. This appears to be part of the plan to privatize our public assets by sales of our prime public properties to global Banks and the global bankers our politicians are sold out too.  This story about seven of the other Candidates in this race misses the historic point that I am the candidate who made the charges first and I already relayed my requested R.I.C.O. Complaint against Mayor Ed Lee and his organization to Ms. Stephanie Douglas, Special Agent in Charge, FBI San Francisco. I made my complaint on Saturday morning, October 22nd, and alerted the other candidates. Here is my open letter to the FBI:http://internetalley.blogspot....  I am one of the 16 candidates on the ballot in this race. I am the only candidate who has made the organized crime family that runs San Francisco a campaign issue in this election. The Police are involved. Their wholesale civil rights violations in many thousands of criminal trials where the Brady Rights of the defendants were violated is well beyond a pattern of illegal activity. The involvement of California AG Kamala Harris is beyond gross negligence. This issue is R.I.C.O. When I made these allegations, the SF Police threatened me with jail if I wanted to continue my campaign. Here is my background complaint to the County Ethics Commission:http://internetalley.blogspot....  Ed Lee is in the middle of an organized crime racket that runs San Francisco and impacts all of the USA. Americans everywhere should be up in arms over the use of Chinese Nationals in wholesale voter and elections frauds. I am a Democrat and this whole issue is just smoldering under a massive coverup and the coverup is the National Story. Why? I proposed every County in America charter their own Public County Bank with State Charters - to end private banking and establish a new American Financial System. I am the 99%. Please join us: http://mayorcurrier.com I made this comment to the Washington Post article about the organized crime going on here in San Francisco where Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor Ed Lee have integrated their campaign and their criminal enterprise on behalf of their benefactor, Rose Pak, and the Peoples Republic of China.  When the Chairman of the San Francisco Democratic Party, Aaron Peskin, past President of our San Francisco Board of Supervisors pointed out that the Peoples Republic of China was now active in San Francisco Politics, many wrote Peskin off as racist.  The truth is not racist.  We all must stop using the race card to cover up real felonies.  There are countless trips to China where now Mayor Ed Lee and Rose Pak met repeatedly with top Chinese government officials in Beijing and Shanghai.  Private and secret business took place in China during those many trips.  No media in the USA is covering this story.  We have a real move from China to establish the ownership of an American City, and San Francisco is on the menu.  Of course you can marginalize the real story here: R.I.C.O.  The fact of the extortion from Recology and others involved in hundred million dollar no-bid contracts with the City is real.  The assertion that the then Mayor was not a candidate at the time of the shakedown is laughable.  If Recology did not pay, what were the consequences on a no-bid contract?  Open bidding?  What about our new Supervisor from PG&E, Jane Kim?  This is her crew out on Stockton Street.  I recognize the kids at the Stockton Street "Ed Heads" voting assistance center, from Jane Kim's November 2010 campaign, where Willie Brown gave another $10,000 in violation of the law - to Jane's team who quickly resigned and back dated their resignations to avoid prison like Ed Jew!  The chain of custody of printed ballots is the election.  If no chain of custody is certifiable and verifiable, the Department of Elections can not certify the Vote, and we have to re-do the election.  This violation of the chain of custody is both a State felony and a felony violation of he 1965 Voting Rights Act.  If this were Alabama and the voting assistance booth was set up and staffed by the local KKK, all hell would break loose.If you want to organize to fight back - you only have two weeks to muster and organize.  I humbly ask for your help so we can stop this take over of our City.   Why would Feinstein and Pelosi all back Ed Lee? They stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars each in the sale of Treasure Island and the take over of our City and County.  If you care, now is the time for all good people to come to the aide of their country. 

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