A California city councilman and five other people are facing election fraud charges following a June vote-by-mail runoff in which the councilman won re-election by one vote.
Compton Councilman Isaac Galvan, 34, was charged with conspiracy to commit election fraud and attempted bribery with intent to influence an election, City News Service reported.
Galvan allegedly tried to bribe a registrar’s office employee using concert tickets, the Los Angeles Times reported. That employee and an election observer alerted authorities about Galvan, the report said.
One of the five other defendants was Jace Dawson, 34, a former Compton council candidate who allegedly conspired with Galvan in his plan to win the runoff, the City News Service report said.
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The remaining four defendants were accused of registering to vote using Dawson’s home address even though they didn’t live there, Los Angeles County prosecutors said, according to the station. Those four defendants are accused of voting illegally, the report said.
Galvan defeated opponent Andre Spicer 855 to 854, according to City News Service.
At least three improper ballots were discovered, affecting the outcome of the runoff, authorities said, according to the Times.
The Compton case was the second instance in recent month in which suspects attempted to influence the outcome of mail-in voting in Los Angeles County, the Times reported.
Last November, nearly 8,000 ballots were mailed to “fictitious, nonexistent or deceased” people for a mayoral election in Hawthorne, according to the newspaper. None of those ballots were included in the tally for that election, the report said.
Two Los Angeles men were arrested in connection with the Hawthorne case, Fox News previously reported.
“Elections are the cornerstone of our democratic nation,” L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “We must do everything in our power to protect the integrity of the electorate process and to ensure that elections are free and fair. The people of Los Angeles County expect and deserve a government that is free of political corruption at every level.”
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Both Galvan and Dawson were arrested Friday and led to a courtroom in handcuffs, according to the Times. They both pleaded not guilty and were released on their own recognizance, pending further legal action.
Galvan’s future on the Compton city council wasn’t immediately clear.
Galvan has been linked to previous investigations, including over his personal attorney allegedly receiving a hard-to-obtain cannabis permit and over allegedly arranging for an associate’s wife to get a job at Compton City Hall, the Press-Telegram of Long Beach reported.
The other four defendants in the Compton case were not arrested and it wasn’t immediately clear when they would appear in court, the newspaper reported.
Compton is a city of about 97,000 residents, about 17 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.