Irregularities Threaten Carmel Election, Voters League Says

From Times Wires Services

Questionable voter registrations for the April 8 mayoral election here, where actor Clint Eastwood is a candidate, could imperil the race if the balloting is close, the League of Women Voters has reported.

The league’s Monterey Peninsula chapter said it has found at least 70 voters believed to have registered improperly and 15 other dubious cases. About 86% of the town’s 4,800 residents are registered to vote. The league began looking into the issue after reports that some Carmel business owners who live out of town had registered to vote here using their business addresses.

League President Lorita Fisher said it could have an impact on next week’s nonpartisan election.

‘Pretty Big Number’


“I could understand a losing candidate’s desire to check into voter fraud if the election were close,” she said in announcing the results of the league’s investigation Tuesday. “Out of 400 we checked, 70 of them are suspicious. That’s a pretty big number.”

The league said it found in a two-week investigation that some people registered to vote using business addresses and some out-of-town residents used Carmel apartment addresses, but stopped short of characterizing the findings as evidence of fraud.

A principal issue in the campaign is whether the current City Council is too restrictive toward business. Eastwood, who has lived in Carmel for 14 years and owns a restaurant here, has accused incumbent Mayor Charlotte Townsend of fostering animosity between residents and business people.

Claims Intimidation


Eastwood dismissed allegations of voter fraud as “vague” and attempts to “intimidate people from voting.”

Townsend said she would not push for a criminal investigation but was worried that “citizens of our village might be disenfranchised by people who don’t actually live here and cancel out their votes.”

The league’s findings will be turned over to the Monterey County registrar of voters, who will decide whether to seek further legal action.