Critics asking the secretary of state for an investigation
Escamilla states that elections were valid
SAN LUIS, Ariz. – Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla considers the request for an investigation into alleged voter fraud during the March elections a slap in the face to the city of San Luis.
Before the May 19 election, the Arizona secretary of state made a public notice to warn voters about potential fraud with ballots and announced there had been irregularities with 10 percent of the ballots during the March election.
According to Ken Bennett, Arizona secretary of state, there may be something amiss in San Luis elections, and he forwarded his findings to the Yuma County attorney for further investigation.
On May 18, Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla published an open letter to the secretary of state, questioning his findings and stating that there is no voter fraud but that there is an error factor in the way signatures are checked, which is leading to the high error rate.
“I would like for the county and the state to work together in improving this process and to implement a campaign to educate voters because there were not only errors with signatures, but also due to the fact that many people were unable to vote because they lacked a physical address,” said Escamilla.
In response to the secretary of state's request for an investigation, Escamilla said people close to him had their ballots rejected, but it doesn't mean there was fraud involved.
Escamilla, who was elected in March, said San Luis can't be compared with the communities mentioned by the secretary of state when he compared the error rate in those cities since in San Luis, Ariz., “people rely on the post office and do not receive mail at home and that is why they request absentee ballots.”
David Lara, who requested the investigation from the secretary of state, said there are enough reasons to justify an investigation into fraud and trusted that authorities will do the right thing.
“It is not only the signatures that need to be looked into. They also have to look into the practice of going to homes and collecting people's ballots before they had a chance to fill them out and that is illegal,” he said.
These voting irregularities are listed in the Arizona Administrative Code for managing electoral ballots as abuse and corruption.
Although candidates have access to a list of eligible voters, it doesn't include a list of rejected ballots and “that is why I'm surprised Escamilla has the names of people whose ballots were rejected,” Lara said.
The information regarding rejected ballots can be provided to candidates upon request, Escamilla said.