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Politics & Policy

City investigating Sunset District supervisor candidate Leanna Louie for possible residency fraud

Leanna Louie (center) speaks at a rally outside the Hall of Justice in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. Louie and other API community members gathered to attend the preliminary hearing of Derrick Yearby, who attacked former city commissioner Greg Chew. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Leanna Louie, the polarizing candidate running to represent San Francisco’s Sunset District, is now being investigated by the City Attorney's Office over whether she truly resides in the district she hopes to represent.

The investigation comes after Mission Local reported that Louie voted in District 10 in April even though she had registered at a Sunset address in March. In addition, the Department of Elections has now referred Louie to the District Attorney's Office for potential voter fraud, according to the outlet.

The supervisor race in District 4—which encompasses the Outer Sunset as well as the Parkside and Lakeshore neighborhoods—is shaping up to be the most colorful local race on the November ballot. 

Apart from Louie’s residency scandal, its candidates also have the most money of any district race. Public safety advocate Joel Engardio has $331,140 in the bank, incumbent Gordon Mar has $147,133 and Louie has $21,385, according to the city’s campaign finance dashboard.

The City Attorney’s Office is requesting a meeting with Louie this week, and asking her to bring hard copies of various documents such as communications with her landlord, bills and other documents that could establish her residency in the Sunset, according to a document posted by Mission Local.

Louie declined to comment and said she will provide an update as soon as she finds out the results of the investigation, which she said will be before Monday. Mar did not respond to a request for comment. Engardio only said that the residency question is something that should be in the hands of the City Attorney’s Office.

The Department of Elections did not give a specific timeline on when the residency question would be resolved. However, a spokesperson said they intend to print ballots the week of September 12.

Louie became known for being one of the loudest advocates for the recall of former District Attorney Chesa Boudin. She documents much of her life on social media, including organizing rallies against Asian American hate crimes and promoting her small business, which sells high pH cleaning products and drinking water.

She’s known for her blunt, off-the-cuff communication style. When Mission Local asked her to comment on the residency investigation, she texted back: “You and the Weather Underground can wait. Practice Patience,” apparently referring to the radical domestic terrorist group that Boudin’s parents belonged to.