The San Gabriel City Council voted to seat councilman-elect Chin Ho Liao on Monday, concluding a series of public hearings sparked by a resident’s election fraud complaint.
Liao was the second highest vote-getter in the city’s March elections, but the council voted not to seat him after Fred Paine accused Liao of living outside the city.
As part of the same action in March, the council began its own inquiry into the question of Liao’s residency. Two ousted incumbents provided two of the votes to launch the hearings, prompting raised eyebrows from election experts.
Attorney Nilay Vora, in partnership with a legal team from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, argued that Liao’s moving patterns were partially caused by a rocky marriage and stressed that Liao always intended to move within the city’s borders.
Vora and the center’s attorneys represented Liao for free because they believed Asian voters were being disenfranchised. The city’s population is about 60% Asian, but the council has seen just two elected council members of Asian descent in its 100-year history.