The mayoral race in San Francisco has been subject to shocking allegations of voter fraud. The district attorney, George Gascon, has begun an investigation on the accusations. There is an increasing demand for federal authorities to take over the investigation.
What are the Allegations?
Current Mayor, Ed Lee, who is standing for a full term re-election is the candidate implicated. His supporters are being accused of handling vote-by-mail ballots illegally. The group, SF Neighbors Alliance, has been accused of casting ballots (absentee) illegally for older Chinese voters.
The witnesses are corroborated by videos taken on mobile phones which show the workers convincing voters to vote for Lee, going as far as to fill out the ballots for them and in some cases, using a stencil to disguise the names of other candidates to ensure they voted for Lee. The workers also took the completed ballots and put them into plastic bags, an action which is forbidden by the election law of the State.
Adam Keigwin, a campaigner for Lee’s opponent, said that he was concerned that this could potentially be a stolen election. The Bay Area White Collar Crime Lawyers are anticipating action soon.
What is Voter Fraud?
Voter fraud is an action or intent which aims to deprive a voter of the right to vote. This also applies when votes cast are falsified. Some forms of voting fraud are:
- Buying votes by offering monetary compensation or gifts to a voter in order to ensure that they vote for a certain candidate.
- Chain balloting – this is when a ballot which was previously marked at the polls is passed to a voter who is entering the polls to vote.
- Ghost voting refers to the practice of voting while using the name of a person who is deceased. This is also applicable to voting under a fictional name or a fictitious address.
- Another fraudulent action is changing the figures on the tally sheet while counting the ballots.
The penalty for voting fraud varies according to the type. Voting more than once is fined $300-$500 and the prison time can vary from 1 to 2 years. Voting under a false identity is subject to disenfranchisement, a year in prison and a $500 fine.Voting fraud through absentee ballots is punishable by up to 5 years of prison time, a $5,000 fine or both.
To learn more about white collar crime, contact Mr. Morales for a free consultation.