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Voter Suppression: Commerce Unexpectedly Moves Mar. 3 Polling Places

By Brian Hews

Residents of Commerce in and around certain areas have been going to the same polling place and casting their vote for over 30 years.

Until this year, that is.

The Sample Ballot, with polling place addresses inside, was mailed out to Commerce residents this past week and some residents who walked one block to vote now have to drive across town to cast their ballot.

Coincidentally or not, this is one of the most heated Commerce City Council races in years.

One older adult who lives near Bandini Park said she is being sent four miles across town to Veterans Park.

Political experts know that older adults are the most likely to vote.

“I don’t drive, this will be very hard for me to get to the park and vote, this is outrageous,” said one resident who declined to give her name.

And the opposite holds true for people who live near Veterans Park, they are being sent to the Senior Center, again putting pressure on the older adults.

Another resident said she looked up where to vote on lavote.net, and the Atlantic Branch Library was listed as their polling place.

Trouble is, the library is closed.

A resident called the county after learning she was voting at the library and was told that the county received that information from the city.

Sources in Commerce tell HMG-CN that this is a scheme to suppress the vote by certain council members in the city.

The timing of the Sample Ballot mailing certainly looks bad. Former Assistant City Clerk Victoria Alexander abruptly resigned without notice just a week ago.

In a Feb. 4th email to City Council members and candidates, city clerk Lena Shumway tried to explain the situation and blamed it on the County.

Shumway said, “yesterday late at night around 6 pm I discovered that three precinct locations were entered in the election system incorrectly by the County.

I spent couple of hours gathering information late last night as to what happened and extent of the error.  The County prepared the map with the corresponding polling places correctly and we finalized and confirmed information.  However, when the county transferred the information, polling place locations for three precincts were incorrect and information was never updated on lavote.net<http://lavote.net>.

Our Consultant, Martin and Chapman, received the data from the County to generate labels for sample ballots.  Some residents received their sample ballots with an incorrect polling location indicated on the back cover.   I investigated that matter last night, and was able to get a hold of our consultant Martin and Chapman.  Please note: The error only affected the residents that received sample ballots.  Those residents that received absentee ballots are not affected.

Today, we are in the process of correcting the mistake and we will get a hold of the County to correct polling place locations.  We will immediately mail (today or tomorrow the latest) a an Official Election post card to all affected residents indicating that there was an error in the polling place location, and indicate the correct polling place.

Initially, we will also notify the community through the City’s cable channel as well as the City website to get the word out.   Residents should receive post cards with their correct polling place location this week by Saturday.  We will continue to provide you updates regarding this matter.   We will also look beyond post cards at other means to inform the public as to the error and the correct information.

Commerce Councilwoman Denise Robles told HMG-CN, “an unfortunate error took place in Commerce.  The incorrect polling place was printed on most ballots in the city.  This error can have serious consequences for the election.  It is vital that material sent out for an election is accurate.  All measures should have been taken to ensure that information on the Sample Ballot was correct prior to releasing to print and mail. The error will be costly, not only monetarily, but also can have a cost to any of the candidates, since providing incorrect information on a sample ballot can effect voter turnout.  Every effort must be taken to inform voters of the correct information.”

Robles went on to say, “my main concern is that voters are not disenfranchised  – they must be able to have the right to vote and their voice heard and correct information to do so. I encourage all voters to call city hall for their exact location of the polling place.”

Resident and activist Mike Alvarado was livid, “I have been voting at the same place for over 25 years. These people, the Commerce City Hall Administrator, attorney and four of the worst councilmembers in the history of Commerce, are pathetic and they will go to any length to manipulate the voting process for their gain. I have never seen so much corruption, what has to happen before the Department of Justice or the FBI take action?”

  • FLFF says:

    Skullduggery is afoot, most likely it is caused by uber libturd demo-creeps because they know NO other way to win except lie, cheat, and steal!

  • Roni says:

    I don’t understand what the issue is, there was a mistake made and it’s being corrected. Also, who is Mike Alvarado and why do you always ask for his opinion?

    • OMG says:


      The polling places have not moved for over 25 years. The assistant city clerk resigned just last week, she was young and very competent, no reason for her to leave. All the city clerk has to do is forward the addresses, the same addresses they have been using for 25 years, to their “voting consultant” who checks with the county and then they print the sample ballot. This is the hottest council race in a long time… Leon, Baca and Altimirano could lose their grip on the city if the vote falls the right way.

      And you think this was an honest mistake…I got a bridge I want to sell you!

  • Mike Alvarado says:

    It’s time for residents to get involved. Councilmeber Denise Robles has been fighting for the people of Commerce for the past four years and her record is proof of that. As for the other four (councilmembers) misfits they has demonstrated their incompetence and lack of experience and vision. They’ve made history along with the City Administration and City Attorney as being the WORST group of administrators in the history of Commerce. Our forefathers would be a shame of what these misfits have done to what once was the Model City. WAKE UP PEOPLE! !!! BEFORE ITS TO LATE!!!!

  • anonymous says:

    I agree with everything that Mike/Miguel said; except; you conveniently forget history; who brought Denise to the party; Robert Fierro and Tina Baca who were both indicted; Remember the old adage; tell me who your friends are; and I will show you who you are. I know; she didn’t know what was really going on. You say John may be a good candidate; what specifically don’t you like about his vision or his ideas; whats not to like? you say it takes more than one; even two candidates do not make a majority; so following your logic it won’t mean a thing; you say if John doesn’t have the other council members support and they don’t share his vision; it won’t mean a thing; Denise didn’t have a vision when she was elected; or did she? council members are supposed to be independent and individualistic; not clones or robots; they are not supposed to go along to get along; “can’t we all just get along”; “to what was once the Model City” when was the Model City something that other cites wanted to emulate; have you ever critically looked at Commerce demographics; I don’t see anything to be proud of; with all the millions that the city takes in and with only a little more than 12,000 residents you should be able to create a real Model City with intelligent ideas and creativity.

  • anonymous says:

    Jocelyn Andrade and Susan Meza you have not convinced me yet; what is it about John’s plan that you think is worth voting for; can you be more detailed and descriptive; as you can see some people do not like independent people; they do not like anybody who does not play the game. what is it that convinced both of you to want to vote for John? if you can not define it for me; you will not convince me. You made your comment to support John and I am sure you want other people to support him also; other wise you would not have commented. Why do you think John will honor his plan if he wins; no one in the past has honored their promises. That’s why people do not want to vote!!!!!!!!

  • John Soria says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    Our plan of action is very simple: accountability and transparency. Our plan is to put control back into the hands of the voters, the residents of our good city. The same law that allowed our current council to give themselves a 35% raise, allows the electors to vote, at any municipal election, whether to increase or decrease their compensation. Rest assured, win or lose on March 3rd, I will be door to door along with my team ensuring we inform our neighbors of their ability and right to decrease the 35% raise. Additionally, I will be working, with legal counsel, on writing an ordinance that prohibits the ability of any future council to give themselves a retro active pay increase. Anonymous, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as you can see, we do have a plan of action that does not require fighting or belittling, rather it requires informing; and my team will do just that, inform the voters of their rights.

    Jocelyn and Susie know I am a man of my word, and trust I will do the right thing just as they’ve witnessed over the years. I have no self serving motive running for city council, my only motive is to see Commerce be The Model City again!

    Mike Alvarado’s issue with me, John Soria, is the simple fact that I am not Denise Robles or Hugo Argumedo, the two candidates he is supporting. I have no issue with Denise or Hugo, we have crossed paths many times during our campaigning and I have been and will continue to be respectful to the two. Denise Robles has been very honoring and gracious during this election, and I wish her well.

    I am an Indepenent Candidate meaning I am running solo, without any help or support from current council. I am 100% grass roots and 100% for the people. If our residents take a moment to view the candidates forum they will see for themselves I am the right candidate they can vote for and trust to effect change in Commerce!