Thursday, May 20, 2010
Officials Confirm Ballot Guide Misprint in Local Assembly Race
Spokesman for Attorney/Candidate Mike Gatto Says Litigation Unlikely
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
A misprint in vote-by-mail instruction guides could affect up to nearly 1,100 voters in the June 8 Democratic primary election for the Assembly seat being sought by attorney Mike Gatto, the Registrar-Recorder’s Office confirmed yesterday.
A spokesperson said some guides sent to absentee voters incorrectly gave the contest to become the Democratic nominee in the race for the 43rd Assembly District the same number as a parcel tax measure, and said the office was reaching out to voters to try to rectify the error. The seat has been vacant since Jan. 5, when Paul Krekorian, a Democrat, resigned to join the City Council, to which he was elected in a special election.
Gatto, who is on leave from his position at Mayer Brown and is listed on the ballot as “Educator/Attorney,” is vying with “Small Business Owner” Chahe Keuroghelian and Glendale Unified School District board member Nayiri Nahabedian to face off against Republican Sunder Ramani, also identified on the ballot as a “Small Business Owner,” in November.
Gatto—who will separately appear on the June 8 ballot with Ramani in a special election to fill the unexpired portion of Krekorian’s term—wrote in an e-mail to supporters Tuesday that the “snafu” made it impossible for vote-by-mail voters, who must match corresponding numbers on their ballot to the guide, to vote in the primary election.
However, a campaign spokesperson said yesterday that the campaign is working with the Registrar-Recorder’s Office and was “convinced we will be able to remedy the situation as long as voters are made aware.” He predicted that the campaign was unlikely to initiate litigation over the matter.
The Registrar-Recorder’s Office spokesperson told the MetNews that the error was previously caught during a quality assurance check and that replacement instruction guides were printed. However, she acknowledged, “some of the old ones got into the run.”
The office does not know how many voters were affected, she indicated, but believes the actual number is less than the potential maximum of almost 1,100.
She added that the office sent out letters Tuesday to potentially affected voters explaining the error and giving them a replacement instruction guide to use when they return the ballot previously received. Voters who have already returned their completed ballots may request a replacement packet with a new ballot, she said, and the original ballots cast will be voided.
She also said the office plans to use phone and e-mail information, if on file, to contact potentially affected voters.
Keuroghelian and Nahabedian could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Gatto, however, in his Tuesday e-mail made a pitch for funds, arguing that his campaign would now need more money to advise voters in calls, letters and printed public service announcements to wait for the new guide before returning ballots.
“These complications add to the cost of what is already an expensive, difficult-to-explain election,” he wrote.
Special Primary Election
Gatto bested felow Democrats Keuroghelian and Nahabedian in an April 13 special primary election to serve out the remainder of Krekorian’s term, taking approximately 46 percent of the 25,774 Democratic votes cast. Nahabedian garnered about 32 percent of the Democratic vote, and Keuroghelian followed with just over 21 percent.
Ramani was unopposed among Republicans.
The 43rd Assembly District sits entirely in Los Angeles County, and includes the cities of Burbank and Glendale, and portions of the City of Los Angeles.
The Registrar-Recorder’s Office spokesperson said the parcel tax measure with which the June 8 Assembly primary election shares numbers is Measure E. That proposal would raise $92.5 million for the Los Angeles Unified School District over four years by taxing each parcel of land in the district $100 each year.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company