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Councilwoman Denies Voter Fraud

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Compton City Councilwoman Leslie Irving denied in court Friday that she registered noncitizens to vote in that city’s controversial June election, testimony that conflicted with that of two immigrant women the day before.

Irving testified in the Compton election fraud trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court that she never went to the trailer park where Elvira Andrabe and Anatacia Boap lived and that she did not know either woman.

Andrabe and Boap, both noncitizens, told Judge Judith Chirlin Wednesday that Irving helped them register to vote and that Irving’s campaign workers returned later to direct them how to cast the absentee ballots.

“I am not aware of an effort to register voters,” testified Irving, who appeared slightly nervous during her all-day stretch on the witness stand. “I didn’t know about it.”

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Her testimony came at the end of the third week of a civil trial stemming from a lawsuit filed by former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley, who lost the June 5 election to Eric Perrodin by 281 votes. Irving, a Perrodin ally, also won that day against a candidate on the Bradley slate.

Bradley alleges that the election was riddled with such wrongdoing as counterfeit ballots, illegal voting by noncitizens and intimidation. The suit seeks to overturn the election and forbid Perrodin from running for office again.

Perrodin denies any fraud. His supporters say Bradley is a sore loser who can’t adjust to losing after eight years of running the city like a dictator.

The Bradley case took a blow last week after election experts inspected ballots and declared that there was no evidence of counterfeiting. But on Thursday, Bradley’s case scored some points with the testimony by the two noncitizens.

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Bradley’s attorney, Bradley Hertz, said Friday that Irving not only registered noncitizens to vote, but also paid as many as 10 patients from a Los Angeles drug treatment center to help with the illegal registration and unlawfully vote as Compton citizens themselves. Hertz accused Irving of registering more than 150 voters for the election, many of them noncitizens and many of them her neighbors.

Irving, who spoke quietly and in short sentences, acknowledged that about 10 volunteers from the House of Uhuru treatment center in Los Angeles volunteered for her campaign, walking precincts with her and handing out literature. She said her father drove the volunteers around in a rented white van with a campaign poster on the back.

But Irving denied that the volunteers had ever helped anyone apply for absentee ballots--or that they had cast votes. She said they did not have access to any documents that could have been used to register people to vote. When asked if her volunteers could have pretended to be voters, she responded, “I do not believe that happened.”

Irving also said she did not participate in any voter registration effort, despite reviewing a campaign finance statement in court Friday. The statement, completed by Irving’s father, showed that the campaign had spent $1,251 on meals and $5,026 on a rental car, both for the purposes of voter registration.

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