3 Oakland mayoral candidates left off November ballot over city clerk's error

"I was almost in tears."

ByLena Howland via KGO logo
Friday, August 26, 2022
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Three mayoral candidates in Oakland say they've been left off the ballot, all due to incorrect information given by the clerk's office.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Three mayoral candidates in Oakland say they've been left off the ballot, all due to incorrect information given by the clerk's office.

"Myself as well as every other candidate for mayor were told that the deadline to file our paperwork was going to be Wednesday, August 17," Allyssa Victory, an Oakland mayoral hopeful said.

Derrick Soo, Monesha "MJ" Carter and Allyssa Victory each say they were given the wrong deadline for filing their paperwork.

"I was told that the date was August 17 based on the fact that there was no incumbent," Carter said.

But on August 12, five days before that deadline, each candidate got a call from the Oakland city clerk's office, saying the deadline had changed to 5 p.m. that evening.

"I was almost in tears, because I knew I didn't have all of my signatures," Carter said.

Carter says she had to leave her teaching job early to turn everything in.

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The following Monday, the clerk's office told her that her signatures were insufficient.

"I just feel like they should extend the deadline, allow us to collect more signatures, or just put us on the ballot," she said.

Oakland native and civil rights attorney Allyssa Victory was able to get everything turned in at the final hour.

"I found out Tuesday morning after walking into the city clerk's office that there was an issue with my endorsers' signatures," Victory said. "According to them, they would not give me any chance to dispute it or to cure it if I agreed, because they said the deadline was Friday."

Derrick Soo, a homeless advocate, had been campaigning for years.

"I'm feeling really slighted, especially for the three years of campaigning that I've done to help Oakland, to bring up the homeless issues and solutions," Soo said.

Even current City Council President Pro Tem and mayoral candidate, Sheng Thao says she was given the wrong date, but was able to correctly file in the nick of time.

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Still, she's advocating for her opponents.

"It's very frustrating, I understand that people make mistakes, I do understand that, but in this case, it's a big mistake and we must rectify it," Thao said. "It's just disheartening. Again, it's about democracy."

The Oakland City Clerk regrets the error but says, "neither the City Clerk nor any other City official has discretion to alter or waive state elections law, including authority to extend the filing deadline."

That's why Allyssa Victory is taking matters into her own hands, filing a complaint with the California Secretary of State's Office.

"I love this city and I do not feel like I'm being treated fairly, I don't think other candidates have been treated fairly, I'm running to correct some of these very issues that are preventing me from being on the ballot right now," Victory said.

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