By Mary O’KEEFE
A Democratic compliance review board has found that 117 of the total number of ballots cast in January’s caucus have been determined not to be eligible voters, and about 100 additional votes were questionable in the caucus election held on Jan. 11.
The votes were to fill delegate slots for the Democratic convention and were held at Glendale Community College. Directly after the election, several complaints were made to the California Democratic Party concerning the caucus.
Registered Democrat voters were to vote on individuals or they could follow a slate of suggested candidates. Those slates were comprised of individuals who were in favor of one candidate or the other.
“There are slates of people that each candidate wants to see elected,” explained Eric Bauman, chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party.
In a letter CVW received in January after the caucus, several voters were concerned about who was voting on the ballot and the checks and balances of the procedures. That letter was also forwarded to the State Democratic Party, which was why the compliance review committee began to investigate.
The committee found that 117 ballots could not be verified, so they threw them out. They decided to recognize the additional ballots of about 100 that were in question as not to disenfranchise those voters. The committee then looked at any candidates that had won the election by 117 votes or less and did not count those votes. In the end, of the 14 selected from the slate, only two remain elected, according to Bauman.
The people/candidates who had their election overturned have the right to appeal the decision at the California State Democratic Convention held May 15-18. They must submit their appeals by May 9. The Credentials Committee will deal with the appeals.
If there are not appeals or the appeals are not approved, the election will be held at a date later determined. The only people that will be allowed as candidates are those that were on the ballot on Jan. 10.
Democrats will be notified, as they were the last time, of the caucus’ new election through notices and local Democrat Clubs.
Bauman said the second election will be handled differently with state and L.A. County staff on hand to make certain the election will be executed properly.
The 43rd District election has been predicted to be a hotly contested campaign with former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and present Assemblymember Mike Gatto running for State Senator Carol Liu’s seat.
This type of election irregularity is not something that is uncommon, Bauman said.
“Sure this has happened before. There are always people who are over zealous and activists that believe strongly in who [they are supporting],” Bauman said.