A former state senator who lost a special election for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors said he has asked for a recount because of concerns over “voting irregularities.”
Lou Correa lost last week’s special election by a mere 43 votes to Andrew Do, an attorney with little experience holding public office.
Do’s victory was seen by some political observers as another example of the powerful voting bloc in the county’s sprawling Vietnamese American community, where the ethnic media relentlessly covers the local political scene.
Do, who was chief of staff for former county Supervisor Janet Nguyen and served briefly as a council member in Garden Grove, was sworn in Tuesday – a largely ceremonial exercise that would be set aside should Correa prevail in a recount.
The recount could begin as soon as Monday.
Correa said that he had received reports of voting irregularities, such as "campaigns collecting (and even paying for) voted ballots and returning them to the registrar’s office or at the polls."
Correa said his political campaign also received reports that people outside the 1st Supervisorial District, which includes much of central Orange County, had registered to vote and cast ballots.
The veteran politician said he is unsure whether the recount will alter the election’s outcome but that the process would at least assure that the election was "conducted fairly and legally."
"We're doing a recount because we want to make sure every vote counted is a valid vote," Correa said Tuesday.
A recount of the 49,000 votes cast will cost an estimated $2,400 a day, said Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.
If a recount does not alter the outcome, Do will give the five-member board its first ever Asian American majority.
Michelle Park Steel, a Korean immigrant, and Lisa Bartlett, a Japanese American, were elected to the county governing body in November.
Do, a Republican, had less name recognition than Correa but targeted the sizable Vietnamese enclave of Little Saigon, where activists helped mobilize voter turnout.
Do served twice as the chief of staff for Nguyen -- who previously held the seat -- and benefited from her heavy campaigning for him in the Vietnamese-language media.
Correa, a Democrat, had the upper hand in fundraising, pulling in nearly $80,000 in six weeks.
He sat on the Board of Supervisors before, winning the 1st District seat in 2004 before resigning in 2006 after his election to the state Senate, where he served two terms.