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Alleged Voter Harassment and Intimidation Incident Raises Concerns in Whittier

Whittier, California - Following the recent municipal elections in Whittier, reports of alleged voter harassment and intimidation have surfaced, prompting concerns about the integrity of the electoral process. Whittier 360 News Network received a message from Maggie Moe, an unsuccessful city council candidate, who claimed that voters were subjected to intimidation near polling places. Moe provided two videos as evidence, one featuring a young woman, Crystal Ramos, who expressed feeling intimidated by individuals engaging in electioneering activities at a local park, which coincidentally hosted a polling center.

However, upon closer examination, it became evident that the incident depicted in the videos may not constitute illegal activity. Electioneering near polling places, while regulated, is constitutionally protected, and the exact location of the alleged incident remains ambiguous. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the authenticity of Ramos's statement, as it lacked emotional sincerity and could potentially have been rehearsed or coached. It may also have been the result of a misunderstanding or hyper aggressive electioneering which could fall under harassment. We don't have enough evidence to say either way.

Upon contacting the Whittier City Clerk's Office for clarification, City Clerk Rigo emphasized the importance of reporting instances of intimidation or electioneering to the authorities. While City Clerk Garcia confirmed Ramos's registration and voting activity, it is important to underscore the need for concrete evidence to substantiate allegations of voter harassment.

In addition to Ramos's account, Moe shared another video alleging voter intimidation. However, upon review, it was unclear whether the recorded activities occurred in proximity to a polling center, and the individuals depicted were merely advocating for voter participation without endorsing specific candidates.

Furthermore, attempts to implicate supporters of other candidates in electioneering activities were refuted, as distributing campaign flyers is well within the bounds of legal political expression. Accusations were made against Whittier mayoral candidate Rolando Cano that were quickly and easily refuted as we found them to be false.

Accusation were also made against Mary Ann Pacheco alleging her campaign illegally stole ballots and filled them out to get her election. Those allegations are 100% false. Whittier 360 was the first news outlet to report that Pacheco had won the election and we did so on election night based on turnout and the number of early ballots that had been cast. While the turnout was unacceptably low and the community urgently needs to address the issue, we firmly stand by our call that Pacheco won the election fair square under the rules currently in place for elections in Whittier given the difficulty that all of the candidates in Whittier faced with the extremely low turnout, especially in District 1's precinct 12. Whittier 360 News Network also stands firmly by its decision to call the election for Pacheco on election night.

Whittier 360 News Network acknowledges the seriousness of these allegations but asserts the need for thorough investigation before drawing conclusions. While the network will continue to pursue the matter diligently, it is essential to await more definitive evidence before making conclusive statements regarding voter fraud or intimidation.

As City Clerk Garcia advised, any individual who believes they have been harassed or threatened for voting or their voting choices should report the incident to the authorities promptly, even if some time has elapsed since the occurrence.

In the spirit of responsible journalism, it is imperative for all news organizations to uphold the principles of truthfulness and integrity in their reporting. While allegations of voter harassment warrant serious attention, conclusive evidence is necessary to substantiate claims and ensure the accuracy of reporting. Whittier 360 News Network remains committed to delivering accurate and transparent coverage of this evolving situation.

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