Leanna Louie District 4 eligibility Department of Elections
Leanna Louie protests Chesa Boudin as he speaks at Manny's cafe at 16th and Valencia on March 21. Photo by Yujie Zhou

The Department of Elections confirms it has referred District 4 supervisor candidate Leanna Louie to the District Attorney to investigate possible voter fraud. This move comes after the candidate’s own candid admission that, in April, she voted in District 10 while being registered in District 4. 

Additionally, the City Attorney on Monday demanded a meeting with Louie in which she will be mandated to provide voluminous evidence — bills, statements, documents, tax forms — proving her residency in District 4. 

This came on the heels of an Aug. 10 Mission Local story that revealed Louie registered to vote in District 4 in March, 2022, but voted at her family home in District 10 in April. She then registered in District 4 again, in May. 

Since the publication of that article, Mission Local has discovered that Louie also co-owns a home in District 11. A clause in her lending agreement, finalized in April, 2021, stipulates that the District 11 home shall be “Borrower’s principal residence within 60 days” of the ratification of the lending agreement, and that she “shall continue to occupy the property as Borrower’s principal residence for at least one year.” 

Louie, however, has told other news outlets that she moved to District 4 in August, 2021, months before the time period specified in the lending agreement. She provided the Department of Elections with a month-by-month lease for a Sunset District home to prove her residency there; it was dated March 1, 2022. She threw a housewarming party in the Sunset in late March. 

Louie, however, in December, 2021, told a DBI building inspector — who had posted a Notice of Violation on her District 11 home describing it as an “abandoned building” — that “they will move in the property within the next two weeks and she will provide the documents of proof of occupancy.”

Those documents were never provided. Instead, the Department of Building Inspection situation was legally remedied by merely obtaining a building permit.

Leanna Louie registered to vote in Bayview in 2016.

In April 2021, she finalized a lending agreement to co-own a home in Ingleside.

Within 60 days of finalizing the lending agreement, its terms stated that Louie must “continue to occupy the property as Borrower’s principal residence for at least one year.”

Louie told media outlets that she moved to the Sunset in August 2021.

In December 2021, a DBI inspector wrote in a Notice of Violation that the Ingleside property was “abandoned.”

According to the inspector, Louie agreed that she would “move in the property within the next two weeks and [would] provide the documents of proof of occupancy.”

That documentation was not provided. Instead, a building permit was sought and obtained.

In March 2022, Louie provided the Department of Elections with a month-by-month lease for a residence in the Sunset.

In April 2022, a ballot was sent to Louie’s old Bayview address.

She used this to vote in the Campos/Haney race, despite now living in the Sunset.

Voting in the election automatically triggered re-registration in Bayview.

In May, Louie re-registered again at her Sunset address.

In June, Louie submitted paperwork to run as District 4 supervisor.

But Louie’s paperwork was submitted less than 30 days after registering there as a voter – in a possible contravention of city law.

Louie declined to speak with Mission Local on Tuesday, instead texting that she could provide “an update” by “Friday or Monday next week.” When asked again if speaking today was possible, she replied, “You and the Weather Underground can wait. Practice Patience.” 

She earlier described Mission Local’s prior article as “fake news,” and last week told Mission Local that her multiple registrations were the fault of an “election error” from the Department of Elections, which sent an April ballot to her former place of residence. 

Leanna Louie's Facebook posting following April's election.

This is partially true, though Election Department director John Arntz denies that his office did anything wrong. Rather, he says, Louie registered in District 4 on March 8, one week after addresses were sent by the Department of Elections to the vendor that prints the ballots. Ballots, he continues, were physically placed into envelopes on March 7, the day before Louie changed her registration to District 4. 

So the ballot for the April Matt Haney-David Campos Assembly District 17 contest was indeed sent to Louie’s family home in District 10. But Louie, a registered voter in District 4, which is not part of AD-17, was not entitled to vote in it. “She voted a ballot that was sent to a previous address for a contest in which she was not eligible to vote,” sums up Arntz. 

Louie additionally wrote in her family’s District 10 address on the exterior of the ballot envelope and signed her name to it. That address and signature are situated beneath the oath: “I declare under penalty of perjury that I am a resident of the San Francisco precinct in which I am voting … ”  

Louie has admitted that she did not reside in District 10 at the time she cast this ballot, and signed her name and filled in her prior address under penalty of perjury. Voting, she said, is her "civic duty.” 

Others have defined this differently. “Voting in a jurisdiction where you know you’re not registered is a crime under the elections code,” says Jim Sutton, the dean of San Francisco election attorneys. 

“Voting in a jurisdiction where you know you’re not registered is a crime under the elections code."

Jim Sutton, election attorney

And, what makes this “even more serious than other situations,” he continued, is that “there was only one race on the ballot.” That’d be the Haney-Campos Assembly contest. This was a race District 10 residents were eligible to vote in, but District 4 residents were not. Following her vote, Louie posted about it on Facebook. 

“Yes, I voted,” wrote Louie, who rose to prominence as an active player in the recall of DA Chesa Boudin. “My last time to vote in the East Side of Town. GO Matt Haney!! NO David Campos (aka Chief of Staff for Chesa Boudin).” 

Sutton notes that “the evidence seems to support that Ms. Louie voted at her prior address for a very specific reason.” 

Arntz confirmed that Louie’s vote in District 10 counted in April’s election. 

Her District 10 address and signature on that ballot, Arntz says, is treated by his office like an affidavit, and triggered an April re-registration to District 10. Louie re-registered in District 4 on May 7, and declared her intent to run for office there on June 3. 

That’s a 27-day span — fewer than the 30 days dictated by the Department of Elections. 

Arntz confirmed to Mission Local that he referred Louie to the DA for investigation. He also contacted the City Attorney. 

“I know I’m in the right,” Louie told Mission Local last week. “I’m not panicking.”

On Aug. 15, a letter from City Attorney David Chiu and Deputy City Attorney Andrew Shen stipulated that Louie must meet with a senior investigator and must schedule that meeting by the end of today. Among the more than a dozen items it demanded Louie provide were bills, statements vehicle registrations, her driver’s license, and documents related to tax credits and property ownership. 

After earning a reputation as Boudin’s “No. 1 hater” during the recall, Louie has carried a law-and-order message into the District 4 supe’s race against challenger Joel Engardio and incumbent Gordon Mar. 

“Unfortunately, with the current Board of Supervisors, who are mostly pro-criminals, there will be little change,” she wrote over the weekend on a Chinatown merchants WeChat group in the wake of reported break-ins and robberies. 

“I love people of all colors, but once someone crosses the line and commits a crime, I don’t care what their color is, they need to be held accountable.” 

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Paying the transaction fee is not required, but it directs more money in support of our mission.

Follow Us

Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

Join the Conversation

13 Comments

Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Leland Yee, Ed Jew and now….another (wannabe) politician in the outerlands lying and breaking the law.

    I didn’t give a hoot about this election, and I’ve never voted or supported Gordon Mar, but he’s still better than this crazy person and her friends and their crazy lies!

  2. This could be a teaching moment. I don’t believe the voters aware of how the voting registrar tracks moves from one neighborhood to another.

    Please take this opportunity to talk to the elections department or whoever manages the voter registrations to determine how they handle voter registrations when people move into a new neighborhood.

    When I checked with the registrar’s office a few years ago they had me registered in 3 neighborhoods. I had to request that I be unregistered in all the neighborhoods and then registered myself in the new address.

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of the need to “unregister” from the old address when they move. The same problem exists for people who are deceased. The department keeps sending election materials until someone requests they stop.

    Keeping people registered in multiple addresses without their knowledge throws the numbers of voters off and it may look like fewer people are voting. Please consider looking into matter and let the public know what the protocol is for changing a voter registration, not just registering at the new address.
    Thanks,

  3. Maybe mortgage fraud as well. I mean, lying on your mortgage application should at least get you bumped up a couple points on your APR.

    1. So true! “… once someone crosses the line and commits a crime, I don’t care what their color is, they need to be held accountable.”

  4. I wonder if Louie filed forms with the Assessor-Recorder’s office claiming a property tax exemption on the D11 property as her principal residence, and if she later notified them that she no longer lived there. See https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/homeowners_exemption.htm . If those records can be obtained, that might shed some more light on what she told which authority where her principal residence was at what time.

  5. Wow, I sure hope this disqualifies her to run for dog catcher much less Supervisor. The last thing we need is lying Trump-like people who think the rules do not apply to them, running SF.

  6. “I’m not panicking!”
    Ms. Louie seems typical of the rampant recall cult. I wonder how many other recall “leaders” also voted illegally and purgerd themselves? I wonder what their cozy arrangement with Republican-fueled “Neighbors for a Better San Francisco,” who also payed Brooke Jenkins $100K for “volunteering” in the bogus recall campaign?
    This is probably the tip of the iceberg, and is probably connected with some national republican scheme.
    It twill be good to air out this foetid little political scheme, illegal candidates, recalls, and all.

  7. In the ultimate twist of irony, the professed savior against crime is closer to more than likely committing a crime.

    The “we’re not rightwingers” recaller is calling it “fake news”.

    And apparently can’t hold a temper to call you “Weather Underground”, for doing your job as a journalist, and their failures to do theirs as a voter. Reminiscent of Trump’s deflections.

    How embarrassing it is for my home District 4.