Councilwoman Kathleen M. Navejas and running mate Rene R. Flores were sworn into office Tuesday, but unsuccessful candidate Placido Alvarez said he planned to investigate alleged ballot tampering in last week’s election.
Navejas was the top vote-getter March 7 among five candidates running for two City Council seats. Flores topped Alvarez by 6 votes to win the second seat on the ballot.
Navejas and Flores relied heavily on absentee votes. During the campaign, there were widespread reports that supporters of Navejas and Flores had picked up absentee ballots from voters, a violation of state election law that permits only voters or their relatives to turn in the ballots.
Navejas and Flores were also criticized for turning in about 40 emergency absentee ballots in the days just before the election for voters who were unable to make it to the polls. Under state election law, a voter can designate anyone to turn in an emergency ballot.
Alvarez said he is convinced that absentee ballots were improperly handled. “I’m going to gather as much evidence as I can before doing anything,” Alvarez said.
Navejas, Flores and their supporters have denied any wrongdoing.