Prosecutors have launched an investigation into allegations that fraud tainted the election at a Los Angeles City Council district, where two contestants are vying with each other to become mayor.
They are looking into a number of irregularities and indications that supporters of one candidate illegally filled out mail-in ballots for dozens of voters in Little Armenia.
In a letter of complaint submitted to the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, an attorney for candidate John Choi protested against “widespread voter fraud and illegal electioneering activities.”
The complaint alleges that backers of Choi’s opponent, Mitch O’Farrell, filled out voters’ ballots for their contender while telling voters that they were voting for Sam Kbushyan — a candidate of Armenian descent who ran and was out during the primary election.
Kbushyan’s name is not on the list of candidates, but he and many of his former campaign workers are now siding with O’Farrell.
The O’Farrell campaign strongly rejects the allegations, arguing that it was Choi backers who unlawfully filled out and took ballots from voters.
“These are Choi people who are doing this,” O’Farrell spokeswoman Renee Nahum said.
Nahum said the campaign plans to lodge its own complaint with the district attorney’s office.
She added that the motion will include testimony from voters, who said they gave their ballots to Choi campaign workers who falsely claimed that they were representing Kbushyan.
Raffik Hambardzumyan, 82, said an Armenian-speaking woman showed up at his residence, and helped him and his wife fill out their vote-by-mail ballots about a week ago.
The senior citizen said the woman told them they were voting for Kbushyan.
Hambardzumyan was later taken aback when he discovered Kbushyan wasn’t on the ballot.
“Why, what happened that he can’t get elected ?” he said.
Sixty-five-year-old Galust Khachatryan said he was recently visited by the same young man and woman, who stopped by his home on behalf of Kbushyan in the primary campaign.
Khachatryan said they didn’t help him vote, but took his ballot.