David Ryu and Nithya Raman

Incumbent councilman David Ryu and challenger Nithya Raman.

Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu sent a letter to the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk's office today asking officials to not allow alleged illegal electioneering by his District Four opponent, Nithya Raman.

Ryu said he filed a formal complaint against Raman's March 3 primary campaign, alleging that her representatives violated the law that prohibits candidates or their campaigns from campaigning within 100 feet of a polling location.

"In the March primary, Nithya Raman used illegal electioneering to influence voters and skew the result in her favor," Ryu said. "We saw Nithya Raman tables stationed well within 100 feet of vote centers across District Four, where they pressured voters to fill out their ballots right then and there."

Meghan Choi, the co-campaign manager for Raman, said representatives for her candidate adhered to the county's election laws when campaigning.

"During the primary, we were very careful to reach out with our poll workers and we were extremely diligent in following the letter of the law," Choi said.

Choi cited the county's election code that states illegal electioneering is defined as 100 feet from the entrance or door to the room or rooms in which voters sign the roster and cast their ballots.

Exit polling is permitted at polling sites, but no closer than 25 feet by news media or other organizations surveying voters as to how they voted, according to the county code.

"We were very, very careful to make sure we were following every standard of the election," Choi said.

In an email, Ryu said his campaign documented the Raman campaign activities in question, and he provided a link to what his campaign gathered.

When lines formed in March around vote centers, Ryu alleged voters had "no choice but to hear Nithya Raman talking points and be given Nithya Raman literature."

Choi responded to the documented materials that included pictures of Raman by saying the candidate's campaign material was well outside the county's buffer from polling sites.

"The entrance to the vote center is cut off by the photo and the table is a good distance away from the sign," Choi added in a response to The Eastsider. 

Ryu said although the primary election is over, he asked the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk's office to ensure illegal electioneering will not take place in November.

In the primary, Ryu, who has championed himself as a reformist on the City Council and has pushed for more transparency measures within the government, was forced into a Nov. 3 runoff with Raman, founder of a nonprofit that aids the homeless and a former executive director of Time's Up Entertainment, a nonprofit that works against sexual harassment and abuse in the workforce.

Ryu finished with 44.7% of the vote in March's election, while Raman received 41.1%.

Additional reporting by Barry Lank.

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