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Runner-up in 6th District race calls for review of election material

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By Joseph Serna, Staff Writer
Al Austin, the runner-up to Long Beach’s Special Municipal Election, formally requested a manual recount of the May 1 ballots Monday–he lost by 74 votes.
Filing the request on Austin’s behalf, Steven Reyes of the law firm Kaufman Downing LLP requested absentee and provisional materials such as ballots and envelopes to be available for review.
He is also seeking to review all records including “reports, e-mail correspondence and phone logs that reference complaints, investigations or irregularities” with absentee ballot materials.
Several complaints to the city district prosecutor have been forwarded to the Los Angeles district attorney, Austin said. The district attorney has yet to make a decision on further action.
Following a review of the requested material, the letter suggests Austin’s camp will seek a recount of four of the 11 precincts in the 6th District.
A recount, Austin said, will hopefully clear up any of the issues raised with Andrews’ voter outreach efforts.
Monday’s request did not delay Andrews continuing with business as usual–he was sworn in at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
As for Austin’s request for a recount, Andrews seems to be chalking it up to sour grapes.
“He has so much money I don’t think he knows what to do with it,” Andrews said, alluding to, among other things, Austin’s campaign having the deepest pockets up to the election. “This young man has to know how to take punches.”
While Austin remains closed-lipped about what exact discrepancies his lawyers may be looking for with the absentee and provisional ballots, Andrews thinks he has an idea.
Andrews carried an overwhelming majority of the Cambodian vote in one particular precinct, and he thinks Austin is disenfranchising their community with this recount searching for something amiss.
He spoke proudly of reaching out to the Cambodian community while at the same time taking a jab at Austin’s endorsement heavy campaign.
“You have to be careful Austin. You just won’t be able to buy [their votes],” Andrews said.
What Austin can buy is a recount and a lawyer to help oversee it.
“We want to make sure [the election] was fair for everybody,” Reyes said. “In the end of the day this ensures for Long Beach voters that the process was fair.”

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Runner-up in 6th District race calls for review of election material