City Attorney David Chiu

City Attorney investigation finds supervisor candidate Leanna Louie did not prove residency

With ties to multiple residences in San Francisco, Louie failed to meet her burden to prove she changed her legal “domicile” from her long-time District 10 family home to a rented space within a District 4 home

SAN FRANCISCO (August 26, 2022) — San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu and Department of Elections Director John Arntz released the following statements today after the City Attorney’s Office issued a report on an investigation concerning the residency of Board of Supervisors District 4 candidate Leanna Louie. The investigation concludes that Louie has not met her burden to prove that she established legal domicile at her rented space in a 35th Avenue home 30 days prior to declaring her candidacy, and thus, the Department of Elections will remove Louie from the November 2022 ballot.

City Attorney David Chiu
City Attorney David Chiu

“I appreciate that determining whether a candidate meets the legal requirements to be on the ballot is a weighty decision,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “However, our Office must follow the facts and the law to preserve election integrity. The information Leanna Louie provided was insufficient, and she did not meet her legal burden to prove she had changed her domicile to her Sunset apartment from her long-time family home in District 10.”

“After reviewing the information gathered from the City Attorney’s investigation, the Department of Elections considers Leanna Louie’s nomination petition to be insufficient,” said Department of Elections Director John Arntz. “The Department will not place her name on the ballot for the upcoming November 8 election.”

The investigation was prompted by media reports that raised serious questions about whether Louie resided in District 4, the supervisorial district she is seeking to represent. These issues stem from reports that despite signing a month-to-month lease for a space in a District 4 home on 35th Avenue on March 1, 2022, Louie cast a ballot on April 3 and wrote under penalty of perjury that her address was on Bridgeview Drive in District 10, her long-time family home where she has lived for significant portions of her life. She then re-registered to vote using her District 4 address on May 7 and declared her candidacy for District 4 Supervisor on June 3.

In order to run for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a candidate must reside in the district they are seeking to represent at least 30 days prior to filing a declaration of candidacy. For purposes of election law, a residency is defined as a “domicile.” To establish a domicile, a candidate must show both the action of physically inhabiting a place and the intent to remain  and make that place their fixed home. A person can have many residences but only one domicile at any given time. Additionally, when a candidate asserts that their domicile makes them eligible to run for office, the candidate has the legal burden to prove which residence is their domicile. Louie did not meet that burden of proof.

In this case, the relevant time frame is between April 3 when Louie voted using her District 10 family home address and May 3, which was 30 days prior to the filing of her candidacy for Supervisor. During that crucial time period of April 3 to May 3, Louie took insufficient action that would prove she changed her domicile from her District 10 family home to her rented space in the District 4 home.

According to her own statements to the City Attorney’s Office, Louie has significant ties and access to a number of residences in San Francisco. Despite owning a home in District 11 on Ramsell Street with her fiancé where her sons live, Louie rents a space in District 4 on 35th Avenue on a month-to-month lease. Louie also stated that she stays at her fiancé’s home in District 9 on 23rd Street and uses it as a business address, and continues to have ties to her long-time family home in District 10 on Bridgeview Drive.

Between March and May of 2022, Louie admitted that she continued to at least occasionally stay at her family home in District 10 and her fiancé’s home in District 9. She continued to use her District 10 family home as her regular mailing address, the address on her driver’s license, and her mailing address on her Declaration of Candidacy filed with the Department of Elections. She did not file a change of address form with the U.S Post Office.

Since May 3 and especially after issues were raised in the media, Louie has taken steps to shore up her proof of residency at her rented space in the District 4 home, but those efforts are not relevant and cannot support her claim to have established residency 30 days before declaring her candidacy on June 3, 2022.

The full report and supporting documents can be found below: