Korean interpreter filling out ballots in Flushing, poll worker alleges

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A BOE interpreter allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates.
A BOE interpreter allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates.

A Korean-American interpreter was allegedly expelled from a Flushing poll site this afternoon after he was caught filling out ballots for voters, a poll watcher said.

The Board of Elections (BOE) interpreter — who was identified as a man in his 60s named Sang — allegedly told some Korean-speaking locals at P.S. 20 to cast their votes for President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates in statewide elections, including Korean Assembly hopeful Ron Kim.

The poll site worker also allegedly filled out ballots for some voters, pushing a Democratic slate, sources claim.

“The interpreter told the voter, ‘Hey, because you’re Korean, you want to vote for Obama and Ron Kim and down the line, all Democrats,’” said poll watcher Daniel Baek.

Baek, 30, said the man told Korean voters to come to his table for language assistance. He had assisted 51 people from 6 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Baek said, pointing to records.

“I don’t know how many of those voters are tainted,” Baek said. “He actually darkened the circle on behalf of the voters. I couldn’t afford to let him do that to more voters.”

Baek said he contacted his headquarters, which then contacted the BOE. A BOE coordinator then allegedly asked the man to pack up and leave shortly before 2 p.m., he said.

BOE officials did not immediately confirm the misconduct, which Baek said is still occurring at several other poll sites in Flushing, including St. Mary’s Nativity Church.

“I don’t think it matters if you’re a Democrat or Republican. Voter fraud is a terrible thing,” said Kevin Ryan, spokesperson for Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran, who is running for Congress and is also on the ballot at P.S. 20. “This is not something we want to mess around with, and it’s not to be tolerated.”

Phil Gim, the Republican contender challenging Kim, called on the BOE to fully investigate the matter.

“There is nothing more important than maintaining the integrity of our election process. The people of our community have a right to an election free from illegal manipulation,” Gim said. “The citizens of our [district] cannot have confidence in their elected officials if the manner in which they are elected is in any doubt.”