November 13, 2018

USA: California Democratic City Council Candidate Among Three Charged With Voter Fraud
written by The Bakersfield Californian
Tuesday November 6, 2018

Bakersfield City Council candidate Gilberto de la Torre is crying foul over the Kern County District Attorney's Election Day announcement that he was being charged with election fraud.

"This might cause people not to want to vote for Gilberto de la Torre," the Ward 1 candidate said, referring to himself in the third person. "It may cost me a few votes."

In an unusual Election Day twist, de la Torre was among three in Kern County charged with voter fraud in connection with the 2016 election, according to the District Attorney's office.

De la Torre was challenging incumbent Willie Rivera; Marvin Dean was also in the race.

Oddly, the press release from the DA's office announcing the charges never mentioned they stem from the 2016 election, leading some to conclude that the fraud happened Tuesday. The press release went on to state that the DA's office is investigating "scores of claims concerning voter fraud."

De La Torre, John Byrne and Fernando Osorio were charged with misdemeanor voter fraud, prosecutors said in a news release. Additionally, Robert Lopez Jr. was charged with perjury, a felony.

Deputy District Attorney Chris E. Dominguez said the DA's Public Integrity Unit is examining more than 100 cases of potential voter fraud stemming from the 2016 election.

Dominguez said the timing of the charges was in no way intended to impact De La Torre’s election. He said it just happened that he was one of the people determined to have violated the Elections Code.

"We were not even aware that he was running today," Dominguez said.

De La Torre and Byrne are charged under subsection (b) of Elections Code 18560, which states "being entitled to vote at an election, votes more than once, attempts to vote more than once, or knowingly hands in two or more ballots folded together at that election."

De la Torre told The Californian he was interviewed by the DA's office in June 2017. He said he went to the DA's office voluntarily and was not led to believe at that time he would be charged. He said he still has not been charged.

"They weren't specific about what I might have done," he said. "I didn't vote twice — I vote by absentee, and it's not possible. I'm a U.S. citizen, born in East L.A. So I don't know."

In 2016, De La Torre was one of 25 candidates to run for mayor.
23ABC News, Bakersfield
written by Joe Conroy
Thursday November 8, 2018

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A 2018 candidate for Bakersfield City Council is facing voter fraud charges.

On Tuesday, the District Attorney's office announced that three people had been arrested on those charges, including Gilberto De La Torre, a candidate for the Ward 1 seat currently occupied by Willie Rivera.

De La Torre on Thursday told 23ABC News he has yet to be charged with anything and isn't sure if the allegations are related to his 2016 mayoral bid or this year's race for city council.

"I was interviewed by detectives in June 2017 for voter fraud from the 2016 mayor race," De La Torre told 23ABC by phone. "I answered all of their questions and they said they would contact me if they had any other questions. I haven't heard from them since."

De La Torre said he doesn't know what he's being formally charged with or even if he's been charged yet. He said he has no court date scheduled either.

Deputy District Attorney Christ Dominquez, who is prosecuting the case, told 23ABC that he can't comment on the case other than to say the code section sited by the press release would give a general idea of what De La Torre and two others are accused of.

The press release sent by the D.A.'s office stated that De La Torre was being charged with violations of Election Code § 18560(a) or (b), which are misdemeanors.

In California, that code section refers to individuals who:

"(a) Not being entitled to vote at an election, fraudulently votes or fraudulently attempts to vote at that election"
"(b) Being entitled to vote at an election, votes more than once, attempts to vote more than once, or knowingly hands in two or more ballots folded together at that election"
Kern County Superior Court shows De La Torre is charged with the (b) section of that code. John Byrne is also being charged with the same section, while Fernando Osorio is being charged with the (a) section.

As of November 8, according to Kern County Superior Court, none of the three people accused of voter fraud -- including De La Torre -- have any pending court dates set.

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