GARDEN GROVE — Searching for proof of alleged voting irregularities, half a dozen volunteers for Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) knocked on doors in several Santa Ana neighborhoods early Saturday afternoon, but it was unclear what they learned.
Alberto Sandoval, a field representative for Dornan, said six Spanish-speaking volunteers left the district office about noon, armed with lists of addresses that were compiled by Dornan and his attorneys.
Voters who cast absentee ballots were targeted, he said, and would be asked whether a non-family member delivered the ballot to a polling place, and whether the residents voted twice. By law, only immediate relatives can drop off absentee ballots.
Neither Dornan nor his staff members could be reached for comment on the findings later in the day. Dornan lost his 46th Congressional District seat to Democrat Loretta Sanchez by 984 votes. Meanwhile, several Latino rights advocates charged that the door-to-door questioning could be intimidating to first-time voters, many of whom are immigrants who recently became citizens.
"These are the kinds of tactics that are used in police states," said John Palacio, a treasurer for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). "We're concerned about that."
Palacio said he and two other LULAC members planned to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate next week.
Since the day Sanchez moved ahead of him in the absentee ballot count, Dornan has made a variety of fraud charges but has yet to produce solid evidence. Most recently, he charged that large numbers of absentee ballots were taken from voters to the polls by inappropriate people.
"We are convinced that people by the hundreds touched ballots that they shouldn't have had their hands on and turned them in at the polls, and that's a felony," he said in a phone interview Friday. "We're looking for people who had their absentee ballots taken from them at the door. We want to know who took them."
Palacio said Dornan's continuing campaign is further alienating immigrant voters from the Republican Party.
"He's had almost six weeks," Palacio said. "It's time for him to put up or acknowledge his defeat."