Christal Mims, Staff
L.A. County is assembling a special investigative team to enforce search warrants at the Westminster Arms apartments and surrounding areas after an unidentified woman targeted senior citizens in a voting scam. The woman allegedly told residents that she would assist them in filling out their ballot and then either had them sign it or signed it herself before taking them.
The Los Angeles bureau of the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) reported that seniors involved in the incident planned to report it.
“Many seniors were suspicious, but after hearing that the woman will help them with the election, they gave her the mail ballots. The senior apartment has 54 units and only three households are non-Korean and many Korean American seniors plan to report the incident to the police,” the SBS report said.
The SBS also reported that the suspect asked the victims to vote for a particular candidate before signing and collecting them.
The Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder is now involved in attempting to identify the suspect.
“We take reports of this type of activity very seriously, as even the appearance of interference can erode trust in the elections process,” said L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan.
Rev. William Smart, CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California (SCLC), expressed his disappointment with any individual attempting to illegally influence the election and manipulate citizens.
“It’s unfortunate that something like this has happened with all that we have done to ensure people the right to vote and the SCLC’s work on voter representation. We just hope that the county, as they do their investigation, can find out what happened and that whoever’s responsible, they can be dealt with accordingly,” Rev. Smart said. “I want justice. One vote for everybody is something that we advocate for. People shouldn’t be desperate and do wrong.”
Voters are being encouraged to drop off their ballots at official ballot drop-off locations.
“You can still register to vote in person at any Vote Center through Election Day,” tweeted L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday. “Vote Centers are open today. Make your voice heard.”
A new online reporting tool has also been created to manage cases of potential voter fraud.
“Voter integrity is at stake and consequences for this kind of alleged fraud must be swift and certain,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in a statement. “It is particularly deplorable that anyone would take advantage of a vulnerable population in order to swing the outcome of an election.”
In an effort to ensure more awareness and transparency, the L.A. County Registrar announced a new resident tool to help protect ballots and alert their office to any attempts to damage or mislead voters.
Said Logan, “The swift nature in which the Department of Consumers and Business Affairs assisted in this effort speaks to the commitment across the County to protect and provide great customer service to our voters.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident that took place at the Westminster Arms apartments is being encouraged to contact the L.A. County Registrar Recorder at (800) 815-2666.