Something still stinks in District 15
With November’s election just round the corner, whatever happened in the District 15 GOP primary election, which pitted Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux against challenger Aaron Weaver, still stinks, with no word from the state on the voting irregularities or how seven dead people could ask for ballots.
We have said it before; we’ll say it again: This level of possible chicanery warrants a grand jury probe. The panel could issue subpoenas, investigate, issue a report and even suggest who should go to the jail, if necessary.
While the state Department of Law will neither confirm or deny it is investigating, the facts are widely known in the irregularity-marred contest. Election officials found seven absentee ballots applications — seven — from dead folks, along with absentee votes cast in the name of at least two individuals who said they had not voted. There were 26 ballots yanked because of residency or legitimacy questions, and all of them were for LeDoux.
Most of those irregularities spring from a single Muldoon trailer park where some of Anchorage’s 6,000-strong Hmong community reside. When reporters asked people there why so many were voting from just a few trailers, they replied, “Ask Gabrielle.”
LeDoux reportedly paid Charlie J. Chang, of Fresno, California, $10,000 to help her reach them. What Chang, reportedly a translator and political strategist, did for the money remains a big question, one that remains unanswered. He has since died.
LeDoux earned Republicans’ ire when she joined the Democrat-led House majority last year and was rewarded with an important post for the switch. Initial District 15 vote counts had her only three votes ahead of her politically unknown opponent. She went on to win 456-339. Weaver withdrew and the Republican Party is backing an East Anchorage write-in candidate, Jake Sloan, a contractor.
There is no question: Somebody appears to have broken the law. Did it alter the outcome? Who knows? Who knows how many votes in that election — one where fewer than 800 ballots were counted — were legit? A mere handful could be consequential and we only know what election officials found.
LeDoux? She says she knows nothing.
Alaskans have a right to know their elections are fair and square. To get to the bottom of this mess will require nothing less thn a grand jury to sift through the rubble and put the contest under a microscope.
Anything less — because this case involves a powerful legislator — will be dismissed as mere politics.
And it should be done soon.