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Queens Chronicle

Interpreter kicked out of Flushing polling place for cheating

Had told Korean voters to select Democrats

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 6:47 pm | Updated: 2:04 pm, Fri Nov 9, 2012.

A case of election fraud occurred today in Flushing when a Korean-American translator helping voters at PS 20 was caught directing them to vote for Democratic candidates, a volunteer poll watcher has confirmed.

The translator, Sang Soo Park, was expelled from the polling place for breaking the law by telling at least three voters to choose the Democratic slate, according to the poll watcher, attorney Daniel Baek.

Baek is a certified poll watcher appointed by the Dan Halloran campaign and charged with overseeing nine polling places including PS 20. He was called to the school after a Board of Elections site monitor overheard Park telling a voter whom to choose for the second time. Baek then observed Park doing the same thing with another voter.

"He basically stated something to the effect of, 'You are Korean and therefore you want to vote for Obama, and you know what? Go down the list for all Democrats,'" Baek said.

The electioneering was not a criminal violation, said the attorney, who practices employment discrimination, criminal defense and breach of contract law in Bayside. But it is a serious matter.

"This was not only a violation of Election Law, but it's a violation of Board of Elections policy and the interpreter's commitment and oath to be neutral," Baek said.

Halloran, a Republican city councilman based in Whitestone, is running for the 6th Congressional District seat against Assemblywoman Grace Meng, a Flushing Democrat. Both sides say their pre-election internal polling shows them coming out on top.

The Halloran campaign said there was a similar incident at St. Mary's Nativity Church in Flushing. It also issued a photo showing a van with a Meng campaign sign on it close to PS 20, alleging that it was within the 100-foot limit where no electioneering is allowed.

The Meng campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.

Halloran spokesman Kevin Ryan also reported that election scanners went down at PS 31 in Flushing, upsetting voters.

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