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City Hall News : ARCADIA : Group Seeks to Invalidate Chang's Election

May 26, 1994|RICHARD WINTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

An Arcadia citizens group has filed a lawsuit contesting Sheng H. Chang's victory in last month's City Council race, charging that his campaign committed election fraud. Chang has denied the allegations.

Leaders of Arcadia Citizens for Fair Voting, which includes the wife of defeated Councilman George Fasching, and Shao Hua Wen, president of the Arcadia Chinese Assn., want a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to set aside Chang's victory and direct that a new election be held for his four-year seat.

"We have gathered more than enough evidence of election fraud to contest this election," said Geraldine Fasching. But she declined to release details of the group's evidence.

Challengers Chang, Mary B. Young and Barbara D. Kuhn won the April 12 vote, in which incumbents Joseph C. Ciraulo and Fasching were ousted. Chang, the first minority elected to the council, received the most votes, 3,805, including 1,438 absentee votes after his campaign staged a voter registration drive in the city's Asian American community.

City Clerk June Alford investigated similar allegations by Carole Ciraulo, wife of ousted Councilman Ciraulo, and last week dismissed the claims. Fasching said the allegations contained in her group's lawsuit are unrelated.

The suit, which was filed last Thursday, alleges that Chang's victory was because of votes cast by people who did not live in Arcadia and non-citizens. It accuses Chang of registering unqualified voters, paying or offering to pay for votes, collecting absentee ballots from voters and delivering them to the city clerk, which is barred by state law, said Peter Wallin, the group's attorney.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Chang said he won the "election fair and square based on the issues." He said it is time to let the new council run Arcadia.

Geraldine Fasching said the lawsuit has nothing to do with her husband, who has no intention of running if Chang is removed by a judge.

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