By Luke Thomas
November 7, 2011
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today she has ordered election monitors to oversee tomorrow’s election in San Francisco.
The decision appears to have been made in response to calls for election oversight following multiple reports of alleged ballot tampering in October by an independent group supporting interim mayor Ed Lee.
The voter fraud allegation has triggered a preliminary investigation by District Attorney George Gascón.
Five mayoral candidates – Senator Leland Yee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Michela Alioto-Pier and Joanna Rees – penned a letter Thursday calling on Bowen and the US Department of Justice to investigate and oversee the election.
“The Secretary of State has generally heard from a variety of San Franciscans concerns that have been raised about tomorrow’s election,” Bowen spokesperson Nicole Winger told the BayCitizen. “They will serve as extra eyes and ears on the ground.”
Responding to Bowen’s decision, Herrera spokesperson Matt Dorsey said in a statement: “Serious questions have been raised about electioneering activities in the Mayor’s race, and we’re grateful to Secretary of State Bowen for recognizing that oversight is needed. San Franciscans deserve to have confidence in the legitimacy of their elections.”
Senator Yee, added, “I am very pleased to hear that the Secretary of State has decided to send state election monitors in response to the irresponsible and illegal activities by those supporting Ed Lee. San Franciscans deserve to have a fair and legitimate election, and these monitors will help protect the integrity of the vote.”
It is unclear if Federal authorities will also monitor the election.