Brennan: Cloud hangs over election

By Tom Brennan |

Voting the cemetery in Alaska? We have arrived.

The election in House District 15, where Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux won the primary under what you might call suspicious circumstances, is being looked into by the Alaska Department of Law, as well it should.

The investigation, to the extent there is one, is in the hands of John Skidmore, director of the Criminal Division. I’m not sure who he has looking into what happened there but I sure hope it’s the Alaska State Troopers. The situation seems to call for highly skilled and trained detectives such as those of the troopers’ Alaska Bureau of Investigation. They might or might not find any chicanery but they definitely should look into it.

LeDoux is nominally a Republican but caucuses with the Democrats. GOP Chair Tuckerman Babcock questions the legitimacy of the election and has endorsed her primary opponent, Aaron Weaver, as a write-in candidate for the November runoff. Wow, Alice has stepped through the looking-glass into Wonderland — and what she sees there is us.

The problem in District 15 is that ballots were requested in the name of seven people who are certifiably dead and two others who are apparently alive but say they never made such requests, plus 17 other suspicious situations. Altogether there were 26 questioned ballots, all in the same area. Ledoux beat Weaver 452-339. Twenty-six votes wouldn’t have turned the tide but it’s a significant number in a small district.

Some of the problem may have been caused by the fact that many Hmong names are similar and English is a second language for many people in the neighborhood. If that was the case, and there was no chicanery, the Hmong need to have the cloud lifted from their heads

One focus of the investigation is almost certainly going to be on Charlie Chang, the Los Angeles man LeDoux hired to recruit votes from Hmong voters in District 15. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group that fled Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Many were attracted to the Muldoon area of Anchorage.

All of the 26 questionable ballots were in the Hmong neighborhood, which is centered in Muldoon. LeDoux paid Chang $11,750 and bought him tickets for two trips from Los Angeles. According to some news reports Chang applied for a District 15 ballot himself despite the fact that he is a resident of California, not Alaska. That report may have stemmed from the fact that someone from District 15 also had the Charlie Chang name — or maybe not.

Most reports of voting the cemetery in the United States have been apocryphal, but they’ve gotten so much publicity over the years that comedian Mort Sahl once said that when his time comes he wants to be buried in Chicago because: “When I die, I want to still remain active politically.”

The Alaska situation deserves a thorough and professional investigation. If there was chicanery in District 15, it needs to be uncovered. If there was no real problem, Alaska’s Hmong community needs to have its reputation repaired.

There have been many instances of questionable voting across the nation, especially among illegal immigrants who have obtained driver’s licenses, then used those to register as voters, giving them both votes and a leg up on the many benefits of citizenship. They lean heavily to the Democratic Party.

The situation in Alaska, the primary election in District 15, must not go unexamined.

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