Robert Lee Ahn and Jimmy Gomez during a candidates’ forum at Occidental College.
Citing an announcement by Los Angeles County Registrar-Record/County Clerk Dean C. Logan that an estimated 10,460 ballots have yet to be counted, along with irregularities in the April primary and in the general election vote, the Robert Lee Ahn campaign committee urged the registrar’s office to ensure every ballot cast is preserved and every vote counted.
In a runoff between two Democrats in the 34th Congressional District, Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez finished ahead of Ahn, a public interest attorney, in the June 6 election, 25,568 to 17,610 votes or 59.22 percent to 40.78 percent. At the time, Ahn called Gomez to concede.
The two were the top vote-getters among 24 candidates in the primary to succeed Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), who is now California’s attorney general.
“In light of the anomalies that plagued the primary, the unprecedented share of vote by mail ballots and provisional votes cast in support of Robert Lee Ahn in the primary, and the failure of the registrar’s office to provide over 400 Korean-language voters their requested vote-by-mail ballots in time for mailing in the general election, we believe it is critical that every vote cast now be counted,” said David Meraz, Ahn’s campaign manager.
In the April primary, ballots cast in predominantly Asian neighborhoods were not counted until the last canvass, eliciting a vote margin of over 90 percent in favor of Ahn. In the general election, there is a similar situation with large numbers of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots that appear to have not been counted yet, according to Meraz.
“The number of uncounted ballots and the margin of the election-night count means that if these ballots produce margins of only 70 percent in favor of Ahn, Robert Lee Ahn is the duly elected representative for the 34th District,” Meraz added. “That is a margin well within how we performed during the April primary and consequently we are asking for every ballot to be preserved and counted.”
Parke Shelton, a Gomez consultant, told The Los Angeles Times, “It’s kind of a stretch to think that a 20-point margin is in danger. This isn’t the first time that the campaign has alleged that there’s some kind of conspiracy to suppress his vote. It would be good if he presented some evidence rather than just accusations.”
The district represents all of Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Little Bangladesh, as well as parts of Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Downtown, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union.