Lodi City Councilman Shakir Khan was arrested last week on 14 felony counts of voter fraud charges stemming from when he was first elected in 2020.
Khan’s arrest is the second instance of election fraud by an elected official in the Central Valley in the last few months following the arrest of Firebaugh City Clerk and former Assembly candidate Amanda Fleming.
The big picture: Khan was arrested by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office last week and booked into the county jail on a litany of charges including false voter registration, submission of fraudulent candidacy petition, aiding and abetting the commission of fraud at any election, subscription of fictitious names to nomination petitions and fraudulently casting votes, among others.
- The sheriff’s office held a press conference last week to share details of the investigation which led to Khan’s arrest. Khan had already been facing charges for illegal gambling, tax evasion and Employment Development Department fraud in 2019.
- The sheriff’s office said deputies found 41 sealed and completed mail-in ballots at Khan’s home while conducting the investigation into his previous charges. Deputies photographed the ballots and left them as they did not believe any crime was being committed. Khan went on to win the election.
- A citizen investigating voter rolls on an unrelated case alerted the sheriff’s office about irregularities at Khan’s address last year, leading deputies to find 70 names that were registered to Khan’s address, email or cell phone.
- Deputies further found that Khan allegedly intimidated members of the local Pakistani community to vote for him and that he forced several signatures on his nomination papers that he filed.
State of play: Khan initially signed a letter of resignation for his position on the city council after Lodi Mayor Mikey Hothi visited him at jail. The letter was signed in the presence of deputies and received by the Lodi city clerk.
- But when Khan was released from jail he told local media outlets that he did not resign his council seat and was coerced into signing the letter of resignation.
What we’re watching: Fleming, whose legal name is Amanda Pearl Speakes, is scheduled to appear in court for her arraignment on March 22.
- She was charged with four felony counts of election and voter fraud for allegedly claiming her business address in Firebaugh as her home address, which is in Madera County. Fleming also allegedly voted in Fresno County elections last year when she should have voted in Madera County.
What they’re saying: “Our investigation uncovered that councilman Shakir Khan has attempted to undermine, manipulate and violate one of our most fundamental rights here in our country, and that is the right to free and fair elections,” said San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow.
- “It appears councilman Shakir Khan has targeted members of his own community, our Pakistani community in the north county,” Withrow said. “And we are doing everything we can to work with them to make sure that they are protected and that any damage done to them or their families is corrected by this man’s actions.”