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Ballot fraud allegations investigated

May 24, 2006|By Fred Ortega

GLENDALE ? The Los Angeles District Attorney's office will look into allegations that the campaign for 43rd Assembly District candidate Paul Krekorian submitted absentee ballot requests with fraudulent signatures, a county official said Tuesday.

The campaign of Glendale Councilman Frank Quintero, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination to the 43rd District seat, accused Krekorian's campaign of engaging in voter fraud at a press conference Tuesday.

"This is about signature forgeries on absentee ballot applications," said Stephen Kaufman, an attorney for Quintero's campaign.

Several voters contacted Quintero's campaign offices last week about letters they had received from the registrar's office, in which they were asked to confirm absentee ballot applications they had never requested, Kaufman said. All of the applications in question were submitted by the Committee to Elect Paul Krekorian, he added.

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The allegations that his campaign would tolerate any unethical behavior are "despicable and disgusting," said Krekorian in a statement to the media, adding that Tuesday's press conference was an attempt by Quintero to save his failing campaign.

"I call upon the county registrar to investigate these allegations thoroughly, carefully and immediately," Krekorian said. "There is simply no basis whatsoever for Frank Quintero's false implication that my campaign has done anything inappropriate."

Quintero chose not to comment on the matter, leaving it to his attorney and campaign to handle.

Quintero's staff produced two voters Tuesday who received letters from the registrar's office asking if they had requested absentee ballots. In both cases, the signatures on the absenteeballot requests, which stated they were provided by the Committee to Elect Paul Krekorian, did not match those of the voters.

"I don't speak English and I didn't know what the letter was about but when I saw the signature next to my name, I knew it wasn't mine," Boghos Nouradian said through a translator. "I sign my name in Arabic, and this signature was in English."

Another Glendale voter, Mari Keshishian, said she considered herself a victim of voter fraud.

"I was shocked and angered because for this election I have not requested an absentee ballot; someone has signed my name on a ballot application, and it was not me," said Keshishian, who has volunteered as a poll worker for the past two years. "This is just wrong."

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