Leland Yee still on ballot for secretary of state despite dropping out


More than a quarter-million Californians voted for Democratic Sen. Leland Yee for secretary of state in Tuesday’s primary election, even though he dropped out of the race in March, after he was arrested on public corruption charges.

When California voters go to the polls Tuesday they will see an unlikely name on the ballot for secretary of state: state Sen. Leland Yee.

Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, is out on bail after he was charged in a federal indictment in March with accepting payments for official favors and conspiracy to traffic in firearms. He filed a written notice to drop out of the race for the state’s top elections officer right after his arrest but it came after the deadline for removing his name from the ballot.

Yee’s decision to drop out also came after the deadline for removing his candidate statement from the voter guide sent out to all registered voters. In it, he promises “to guarantee fair elections, expose special interests, and prevent corruption.”

Larry Gerston, a political scientist from San Jose State University, said Yee may get some votes. “There will be some people who will vote for Yee because they do not know what is going on,” Gerston said.


But he thinks there is no chance that Yee will be among the top two vote-getters in a field with seven other candidates. In the unlikely situation does Yee finish in the top two Tuesday, his name would be on the ballot for the runoff election in November, election officials say.

No doubt the seven active candidates for secretary of state are hoping California voters paid attention to the news enough to know that Yee has dropped out. The three Democrats campaigning for the post are Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, former Common Cause vice president Derek Cressman and Jeffrey H. Drobman, a computer scientist and engineer.

Two Republicans are in the race: Roy Allmond, a program technician in the secretary of state’s office, and Pete Peterson, executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, a think tank at Pepperdine University.

Dan Schnur, who is on leave as director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, is a no-party-preference candidate. David Curtis, a designer in an architectural studio, is a Green Party candidate.