A San Francisco Board of Supervisors candidate is suing the city after she was disqualified from the November ballot for allegedly living outside the district she is running for.
The City Attorney’s Office completed its investigation into District 4 candidate Leanna Louie’s residency last month and wrote the following:
Ms. Louie’s statements and the documents she made available to our Office establish that her San Francisco domicile before March 1, 2022 has been in District Ten. Ms. Louie asserted that she began the process of establishing domicile in District Four as of that date (after an earlier unsuccessful effort to move to District Four from District Ten in 2021, as we describe below). But the facts provided by Ms. Louie demonstrate that she had substantial, ongoing ties to residences in other supervisorial districts – including District Ten as well as Districts Nine and Eleven – in the same time frame that she also claims she was taking steps to establish domicile in District Four…
Based on the facts from the documents and information Ms. Louie and her attorneys provided to us, we conclude that Ms. Louie has not met her burden of demonstrating that she has changed her domicile from District Ten to District Four by May 3, 2022, 30 days before she filed her declaration of candidacy.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, the Department of Elections decided to remove Louie from the ballot.
Louie and her attorneys disputed the City Attorney’s findings last week and called the decision to remove her “a political assassination attempt.” They have called on the courts to reverse the decision and reinstate her immediately.
At least one expert believes Louie’s team may have a case.
“The way it works is, candidates have all these papers to fill out. The Department of Elections goes through all of them, and makes sure you do it properly, and accepts your paperwork, and ‘certifies’ your candidacy by accepting your papers. I don’t know that they can reverse that certification,” San Francisco election attorney Jim Sutton told Mission Local.
“I think there is an argument that the city did not have a right to just pull her off the ballot. That is an extraordinary step. It will be up to a judge to decide if the city followed all proper procedures before taking her off the ballot.”
The courts must move quickly. The November ballot will get printed on Sept. 12.
City Attorney spokeswoman Jen Kwart, meanwhile, says the office will defend its decision.
“While it is Ms. Louie’s right to take this matter to court, we stand by our facts and conclusions,” said City Attorney spokeswoman Jen Kwart. “She did not meet her burden to prove that she established legal domicile in the Sunset 30 days prior to declaring her candidacy.”
Louie is a controversial candidate in San Francisco. She is running as a tough-on-crime candidate and was referred to as Chesa Boudin's "#1 hater" by the San Francisco Standard. She sparked outrage last month whe she referred to a member of the news media as a Nazi.