A California city council member was arrested for allegedly committing election fraud.
Lodi City Council member Shakir Khan, a Democrat, was arrested on Thursday for multiple election fraud charges, including allegedly stashing 41 mail-in ballots at his home, falsifying voter registration documents, and pressuring residents to vote for him. Investigators claim, based partially on body cam footage of police interviews, that Khan registered 23 people to vote at his home address and used his phone number to register 47 people to vote.
These charges stem from the 2020 election, when Khan was elected to the District 4 seat for the Lodi City Council.
Khan also faces charges in a separate criminal case with his brother that include illegal gambling, money laundering, tax evasion, and unemployment fraud. He’s due in court for another arraignment on that case on Feb. 21. Related to the election fraud charges, Khan was released from jail on Friday but must wear a tracking device and stay within California.
Local news reports it’s unclear whether Khan has resigned from the city council over the allegations. Still, the charges he faces related to election fraud are serious. That investigators allegedly found 41 sealed and completed mail-in ballots when searching Khan’s home proves how easy it is for nefarious actors to fix elections when unsupervised mail-in balloting is legal.
As previously reported, mail-in ballots pose a huge risk for election fraud. According to data from the federal Election Assistance Commission, 28.3 million mail-in ballots are still missing across the country from elections conducted between 2012 and 2018. Because there is no way to track these ballots, there is no way of knowing whether they were used fraudulently.
Third-party partisan organizers can also take advantage of such a lax system by harvesting ballots (coaxing voters to fill out ballots on behalf of Democratic candidates, taking their ballots, and dropping them off at election offices), and they do. In fact, Khan allegedly engaged in ballot harvesting by pressuring District 4 residents to vote for him and filling out their ballots.
Requiring all voters who are able to cast their ballots in person would remedy many of the security weaknesses of mail-in balloting. If that were law in Khan’s case, he wouldn’t have been allegedly able to fill out 41 fraudulent mail-in ballots using fake names and addresses and deliver them to be counted. There would have to be actual people showing up at the polls, identifying themselves, and filling out each of their ballots.
Despite the obvious liabilities of switching to all-mail elections, California just became the eighth state to approve all-mail voting for its elections moving forward. As a result of such a disastrous change, expect more cases like Khan’s to spring up.