L.A.'s 5th Council District race still undecided

Although there were definite winners and losers in most of Tuesday’s election contests, questions remained in the battle to represent L.A.'s 5th Council District, the Westside-to-Encino seat being vacated by Councilman Jack Weiss, who lost his bid to become city attorney.

Officials said it was unlikely that a new councilman would be declared until at least Friday.

With all 160 precincts reporting, former state Assemblyman Paul Koretz was leading neighborhood council member David T. Vahedi by 335 votes.

Efrain Escobedo of the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder’s office said Wednesday that approximately 3,000 ballots remained to be counted. Those included provisional and mail-in ballots.


“It’s not going to take very much to swing this one way or another,” he said.

Koretz did not return a call for comment.

The canvassing period to review such ballots begins today and lasts until June 16, Escobedo said.

Vahedi’s campaign alleged Wednesday that some absentee voters had received irregular ballots, something that the registrar-recorder’s office is investigating.

Alex Richmond, Vahedi’s campaign manager, said that he had been told as many as 112 ballots may have been affected.

Escobedo confirmed that there had been what he termed “isolated cases” in which 5th Council District residents received mail-in ballots that did not include the City Council race.

One ballot, reviewed by The Times, had contradictory ballot group numbers listed on the outside cover and inside pages -- indicating that the sample ballot had possibly been assembled improperly.

Escobedo said that officials were working with the printer that assembled the ballots to determine exactly how many ballots had been affected.

He said that, so far, officials believed that the incorrect ballots were sent only to a small group of those voters who requested mail-in ballots.