Five disqualified ballots could lead to a tie in city council race

Here’s an interesting story, “Judge to rule on Rosemead City Council election results:”

A judge today is expected to open at least four ballots that could affect the results of the Rosemead City Council election in March.

Former mayor John Tran, who lost the election by five votes, asked to have five ballots, which had been disqualified, recounted. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant has decided to open four, according to Tran attorney Steven Baric.

If all five ballots were cast for Tran, the outcome of his election battle with City Councilwoman Sandra Armenta would be a tie. The city’s code has no tie-breaking procedure and Armenta has already been seated.

After Tran lost the March 3 municipal election, he filed a lawsuit contesting its results and alleging the votes of minorities were illegally disqualified. The city disqualified 112 ballots because they had signatures that did not match their voter registration forms, were not from registered voters, or the voters didn’t live in the city or didn’t sign their ballots, according to City Clerk Gloria Molleda.

Many of the disqualified ballots belonged to Vietnamese and Chinese voters, according to Tran’s attorneys. They say they have affidavits from some voters swearing their disqualified ballots are valid.

On Tuesday Chalfant went through 28 ballots produced by Tran and concluded that four should to be counted, Baric said. A fifth ballot was also questioned by the Chalfant, but “legal issues” have produced uncertainty as to whether it will be counted, Baric said, without providing details.