Chinatown community leaders are calling on mayoral candidate Leland Yee to end his Cantonese-language robo-calls warning residents not to hand over their ballots to campaign workers supporting Mayor Ed Lee.
According to a translation of the call, a voice warns residents not to give ballots to Ed Lee’s campaign “or anyone related to Ed Lee.”
“This is very important. It is illegal that the Ed Lee camp takes your ballots or registers your ballots. Please respect the law,” the call says. “Please vote for Leland Yee to make sure your vote is counted.”
Yee has been going after Lee since mobile phone video released by the campaign last week showed alleged voter fraud by SF Neighbor Alliance workers helping Chinatown senior citizens fill out ballots on Stockton Street.
The group is an independent expenditure committee legally unable to affiliate with Lee’s candidate campaign. The mayor has since denounced its actions, calling them “moronic” and asking workers to “cease and desist.” Lee also said he supports a full investigation of the matter, which is underway by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
The letter, signed by leaders of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the vice president of the Lee Family Association, says the robo-call is undermining confidence in the electoral process and suggests it could help prevent The City from electing a Chinese-American mayor for the first time. Rose Pak, a powerful Chinatown powerbroker and a close ally of Lee, is also a consultant for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Adam Keigwin, a staffer on Yee’s campaign, said the assertion that the call is preventing the first elected Chinese-American mayor is ludicrous, with three other Chinese candidates with a “good chance of winning this race.”
“It’s just saying that people should not be turning their ballot over to anybody,” Keigwin said. “It’s providing a service to folks.”
Conflict between the Yee and Lee campaigns has been ramping up in the final days before the Nov. 8 election, culminating earlier this week in an unsightly confrontation between the two camps Tuesday.