Water Board Candidate Jeffrey Heintz Under Investigation by L.A. County Recorders Office for Ballot Designation

Jeffrey Heintz was appointed to the La Habra Heights County Water District Board in February 2008.

He filed papers and a Candidate Statement for the November 3, 2009 Election as an "Incumbent". Similarly, his campaign literature and website refer to him as "Incumbent".

However, Election Code 13107 clearly states that only those who were elected by the voters, or who ran unopposed in a prior election, can be called "Incumbent" on the ballot.

One who was appointed, and is running for an office for the first time, must call themselves an "Appointed Incumbent". Election code excerpt below"

"13107. (a) With the exception of candidates for Justice of the
State Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, immediately under the name of
each candidate, and not separated from the name by any line, may
appear at the option of the candidate only one of the following
designations:
(2) The word "incumbent" if the candidate is a candidate for the
same office which he or she holds at the time of filing the
nomination papers, and was elected to that office by a vote of the
people, or, in the case of a superior court judge, was appointed to
that office.
(4) The phrase "appointed incumbent" if the candidate holds an
office other than a judicial office by virtue of appointment, and the
candidate is a candidate for election to the same office, or, if the
candidate is a candidate for election to the same office or to some
other office, the word "appointed" and the title of the office. In
either instance, the candidate may not use the unmodified word
"incumbent" or any words designating the office unmodified by the
word "appointed."

As such, Mr. Heintz's use of "Incumbent" was clearly in violation of section 4 above, when "Appointed Incumbent" was required to be used.

For example, Pam McVicar, who also was appointed and up for election for the remainder of the term she was filling, filed her papers correctly, referring to herself as an "Appointed Incumbent". (See difference highlighted below)


Los Angeles County Recorder's List of Qualified Candidates

The designation is important for Voters. A Voter would assume that an "incumbent" had been previously elected by the people.

For an "Appointed Incumbent" to refer to her or himself as an "Incumbent" is misleading to the Voters.

The Election Sample Ballot was recently released with Jeffrey Heintz shown as "Incumbent". An inquiry was made to the County Recorder's Office, and they determined an investigation was necessary; and is ongoing.

Los Angeles County Recorder's Office Member Alex Overa stated they are in discussions with the County Counsel and will issue a determination today.

Investigation Result - October 2, 2009 5:00 p.m.

The Recorder's Office in consultation with the County Counsel determined that the Ballot will remain as it is, as the period to challenge a designation ended August 17, 2009.

The Recorder's office uses the "honor system" with candidates, and stated in a letter about Mr. Heintz, "he declared that the elected title is true and is in conformance with the California Elections Code."

In a conversation, the Recorder's Office said that had a challenge been made prior to the challenge deadline, the outcome would likely have been different.

The Recorders Determination Letter goes on to say, "As such, at this late time, no further changes to the ballot materials or ballot may be made in that it would substantilly interfere with the conduct of the election."

In response to an inquiry, Mr. Heintz responded that he did check off "appointed" when he applied. He is listed as "Appointed" in a list of candidates on the Registrar/Recorders on-line list, seen here.

Follow-Up Investigation October 5, 2009

When Mr Heintz's filing documents were requested at the County Recorder's Office in Norwalk on October 5, 2009, the clerk said the files were not there due to an investigation under way by upper levels at the County Recorder's Office. An inquiry at the Executive Offices led to the documents being found at the Assistant Manager's Office.

Several documents, produced during the candidate filing process, were found. A printout of an on-line Application showed an "x" next to "Appointed". Staff stated this document was "internal" so a copy could not be provided.

Mr Heintz's "Ballot Designation Worksheet" (link below) shows that he entered "Incumbent" as his Ballot designation, with an explanation below that he is an appointed incumbent.

He also signed a "Code of Fair Campaign Practices" statement (link below).

The most crucial document is Mr. Heintz's actual "Declaration of Candidacy" (link below), where he signs "under penalty of perjury" that "I declare that the foregoing ballot designation is true and in conformance with Section 13107 of the Election Code".
On that sworn document he printed "Incumbent" as his ballot designation.
As shown above, calling oneself an "Incumbent" when you are "appointed" is a clear violation of Election Code 13107.

His continuing use of "Incumbent" on his campaign website and election mailers, when they could be changed to "Appointed" suggests a desire to step away from his "appointed" status.

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See Jeffrey Heintz Official Campaign Statement referring to himself as an "Incumbent"

See Sample Ballot for November 3, 2009 Election with incorrect "Incumbent" designation

See County Recorder's Determination Letter.

See Heintz Candidate Intention 501 Form

See Jeffrey Heintz "Ballot Designation Worksheet"

See "Code of Fair Campaign Practices" Statement

See "Declaration of Candidacy" Form