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Irvine : Candidate Says Rivals Violated Ballot Law

Irvine City Council candidate Tom Jones has fired the opening salvo in the city’s June 3 municipal election, charging rival candidates Lawrence A. Agran and Ed Dornan with violating a new state law regarding absentee ballots and distributing “illegal and misleading documents.”

Agran and Dornan had distributed 20,000 campaign brochures which included absentee ballot applications that did not comply with new state regulations that became effective Jan. 1, 1986, according to Orange County Registrar of Voters Alvin E. Olson.

The Agran-Dornan materials failed to include the state-mandated deadline date for the forms to be returned, and also asked voters to return the application request form to Dornan’s campaign treasurer instead of to Olson’s office.

By the time Jones fired off a press release and letter to Olson, however, the registrar said his office had resolved the problem with the Agran and Dornan campaigns.

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“Our people did get in touch with them,” Olson said Monday. He added: “They said they were unaware of Section 1006.1 (of the California Election Code) and would stop distributing any cards of that type. I think the matter is all resolved at this point.”

Olson said that representatives of the two campaigns had turned in for processing the 274 applications they had already received.

Agran, Dornan and Jones are among 10 candidates vying for two council seats in the June city election.

Jones, an attorney and president of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, is seeking backing from the city’s business community. Agran, who hopes to win reelection to his third term, is campaigning for limitations on local development, as is his ally and political newcomer, Dornan.

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Jones said that his opponents’ mistake may have been an honest one, but added, “Ignorance is no excuse.” Asked whether the letter to the registrar signaled the beginning of his campaign, Jones said: “Yup. It’s time to roll.”

Section 1006.1 of the California Elections Code was put into effect this year, Olson explained, because election officers had problems with groups printing their own absentee ballot applications without all the necessary information.

“Many of them directed the applications to be sent to a campaign office,” Olson said, “and the problem then is that the campaign keeps them for a while to get the information they want off the forms.

“They bring the forms in to us at the last minute and it becomes a big job to process all the applications in time for the election.”

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