In Complaint Lodged With Secretary Of State, Negrete Alleges Electioneering Code Violations Against Gomez

In a complaint to the California Secretary of State, current Victorville City Councilman Eric Negrete has alleged three separate violations of the California Election Code against his council rival, Blanca Gomez. Negrete, a Republican who was elected in 2014, has crossed swords more than once with Gomez, formerly a Democrat who now expresses no party preference and who was elected to the Victorville City Council in 2016.
Though municipal office is considered to be nonpartisan, Gomez’s adherence to progressive, indeed what Negrete has characterized as radical, principles, has left her isolated on the council, as she has consistently found herself on the losing end of 4-to-1 votes. Negrete and others have objected, as well, to her tendency to involve herself in political issues outside of Victorville, as when she attended a rally in Rialto which called for less restrictive immigration policies or she sought to promote the candidacies of several Hesperia city council hopefuls. A group of citizens from Victorville in alliance with others from outside the city earlier this year sought to qualify for the ballot a recall election targeting her, but organizers of that effort recently signaled it would fall short of gathering the requisite number of signatures to succeed.
Negrete, who had to stand for election in this month’s race in order to remain in office, was one of eleven candidates in a race for which two seats were at stake. While early in the tallying of the votes he clung to second place and appeared to be headed for a second term on the council, in recent weeks he has slipped into third place and it now appears that he will fall short in his effort to gain reelection. Late and provisional votes are yet arriving and the election will not be certified until next month.
While Negrete was yet in the lead, on November 9, he filed his complaint which asserted that Gomez had been either promoting other candidates in the race or opposing him while, he said, she was violating “Elections Code 18370 – electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place on election day.”
Furthermore, according to Negrete, Gomez had violated “Elections Code section 18371 – electioneering during vote-by-mail voting.” His complaint states, “Council Member Gomez was seen at the City Hall polling location demanding, and receiving, conditional ballot registrations. Vote-by-mail bundling occurred. Absentee/vote-by-mail ballots were dropped off at City Hall.”
And, Negrete said, Gomez had also violated “Elections Code section 18560(a)” by facilitating “fraudulently voting in an election in which one is not entitled.”
Negrete’s complaint states, “Same day registration/voting occurred at Victorville City Hall which may only be provided at the San Bernardino County elections offices. Blanca Gomez registered voters, including illegal aliens, on election day and they cast illegal votes. ”
Gomez told the Sentinel, “Same day registration and voting is permitted at select locations in San Bernardino County by the Registrar of Voters, including Victorville City Hall. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Negrete cannot accept responsibility and must find another reason to scapegoat his loss. No illegal electioneering occurred and what you’re witnessing is typical behavior from a failed candidate. I wish Eric Negrete would take his 2018 election loss with dignity and retreat from the Victorville City Council with some honor. This is no surprise considering Mr. Negrete was handpicked by failed 2016 Victorville City Council candidate Ryan McEachron, who also exhibits the same behavior.
-Mark Gutglueck

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