Did Salvador Franco commit voter fraud?

DOWNEY - According to voter registration forms filed at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office, Downey City Council candidate Salvador Franco may have committed voter fraud between 2006 - 2010 by living in Downey, but voting elsewhere. A voting history chronicled by the registrar-recorder's office reveals that Franco, a consistent voter since 2002, cast a ballot in each primary, consolidated, general, and special election, but failed to update his registration for four years after moving to Downey.

The California election code, however, requires all citizens to reregister after moving into a new residence and prohibits fraudulent voting where one's not entitled including in another city. When Franco moved to Downey from Bell Gardens in 2006, records indicate he did not update his voter registration until Aug. 5, 2010.

Franco had previously registered on Jan. 6, 2003 after moving from a condo complex on Gilliland Avenue to a 1,500-sq.-ft. home on the 5800 block of Cecilia Street in Bell Gardens.

Despite his relocation to Downey, Franco continued to vote in elections including a consolidated election on Nov. 6, 2007, the presidential primary and general elections of 2008, and a statewide primary election on June 8, 2010.

Committing voter fraud by aiding or abating votes is a felony punishable by up to two or three years in prison, according to Downey City Clerk Adria Jimenez.

Voters are allowed to cast provisional ballots at any polling place, but Jimenez confirmed those ballots are ultimately sent to the county and incorporated with other ballots from the registered voter's city.

"From there, the county would have to determine whether fraud took place or not," Jimenez said. Franco, a former councilman in Bell Gardens, could neither confirm nor deny the allegations on Tuesday.

"At one point I lived in Hacienda Heights, about nine months after I left Bell Gardens and before I came to Downey," Franco said. "I don't recall exactly where I voted - Downey, I think, but I don't recall."

Nonetheless, Franco labeled the allegations as another attack by those opposed to his city council campaign.

"There are people lying, accusing me of this and that," he said. "They're saying I want to get rid of the fire department, I am in favor of keeping the fire department. We want to keep the fire department intact.

"I said we need to look at everything that's happened...look at all the options. At the end of the day, voters will decide," he added.

Franco is currently running in a contentious race for the District 5 city-wide Downey City Council seat. He is vying for the seat against community leader and local attorney Alex Saab, former professional baseball player Gabriel Orozco, and attorney-at-law Ricardo Perez.