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Fight in California Democratic Party goes on: 'It is believed that the wrong individual is serving as chair'

Kimberly Ellis speakers to her supporters have losing the election. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Kimberly Ellis speakers to her supporters have losing the election. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Bay Area Democratic organizer Kimberly Ellis, who narrowly lost the race to be the next leader of the California Democratic Party, on Monday said her campaign found evidence of hundreds of voting discrepancies, including mismatched voter signatures and “multiple” cases of delegates voting more than once.

“Based on the information contained here, the actual vote count is in question. It is believed that the wrong individual is serving as chair,” the Ellis campaign stated in a six-page memo released Monday evening.

Ellis lost the election for state party chairperson to Eric Bauman, the chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, by just over 60 votes during the party’s convention in Sacramento on May 20.

Among other evidence, the Ellis campaign said it found delegates' signatures on hundreds of votes cast did not match the signatures those same delegates signed when they obtained their credentials for the convention.

Mike Roth, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said party officials are reviewing Ellis' memo but that it "appears to be more unsubstantiated allegations and still no facts." 

"Ms. Ellis created a lot of build up to her online release, but our initial read is that she is still lacking any real details,” Roth said in a statement released Monday night. 

Ellis had called for an independent audit of the election, a request rejected by Bauman. On Monday, Ellis renewed her call for an independent inquiry.

Bauman said the party already has a process in place to review contested elections. The party's compliance review commission, made up of six members who were appointed during former Chairman John Burton's tenure, will review the evidence and take oral or written testimony before issuing a ruling in mid- to late June.

The Ellis campaign, however, said the panel would be biased in favor of Bauman since according to its review of the ballots, five of the six members voted for Bauman for chair. Ballots are not secret for the chair election.

Updated at 8:11 p.m.: This post was updated to include a response from the California Democratic Party.

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