District 11 Democratic Club Members Dispute Candidate Endorsements

Supervisor candidates at the District 11 Democratic Club forum on Sept. 10, 2016. Will Carruthers/Ingleside-Excelsior Light

Members of the District 11 Democratic Club are disputing the results of its candidate endorsements after cross checking the club’s eligible voter list with Department of Elections files, showing the divide between supporters of moderate candidate Ahsha Safai and progressive Kimberly Alvarenga, who won the club’s endorsement.

Voting members are required to be residents of the district, registered with the Democratic Party and in good standing with the club. Members of the club’s executive board are calling the vote into question.

“Things appeared to be rushed,” said Vice President Mary Harris. “It’s questionable whether everyone who voted was eligible. I’m not a sore loser so long as we do things right.”

Club Secretary Chris Corgas took a copy of the eligibility list from the Sept. 10 candidate forum, compared it to files at the Department of Elections and found issue with 14 members.

“I stand by 13 or 14 of those [voters] are not Democratic Party members or living in the district. I don’t know who these people are. They could’ve voted for [Safai],” Corgas said. Corgas has contributed to Safai’s campaign.

The Alvarenga-Safai split was three to one. If the votes in question were removed, it’s unknown whether Alvarenga would have received the 60 percent minimum to be endorsed, according to Corgas.

“If we throw out the disputed ballots, nothing changes. This is not a new thing for the [Safai] campaign,” club president Nadia Conrad said referring to the revote at the Democratic County Central Committee in which no endorsement for the District 11 race was given.

“For the record, there a was a window of 30 days in which questions regarding eligibility should have been raised prior to the vote this past Saturday, and it is unfortunate that is being raised now after we had such a great participation of members in our democratic process,” Conrad said.

Conrad suggested Corgas might have the wrong list and said that five of the members Corgas found to be ineligible were actually eligible. Two are gaining citizenship; two gave wrong addresses; and one moved back into the district in August.

Harris, a founding member, said that in the past when she was membership chair, she printed out the latest registered voter file to make sure club’s members were eligible to vote.

“I realize now we must be stringent and the membership chair needs to be better prepared,” Conrad said. “I was unaware this was something we need to do.”

The dispute will come to a head tonight after the club’s Sept. 14 issues meeting at Henry’s Hunan when its executive board addresses the matter.

“Will we throw out part of our ballot endorsements or the whole thing? There should be a vote by the membership to see how we proceed,” Harris said.

Conrad is independently verifying the claims ahead of the meeting.

“We need to have a discussion and come up with a solution everyone is comfortable with,” Conrad said.

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