Orange County’s Final Vote Tally Puts 2 Vietnamese Americans in Winners’ Seats

My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2008

Westminster became the first city in America with a Vietnamese-majority city council after a final tabulation of votes Monday shifted the winners in two Orange County cities.

Two Vietnamese American candidates who had been trailing after initial vote counts on election day emerged as winners when the Orange County registrar certified the final results of the Nov. 4 election.

In Westminster, Truong Diep initially trailed Penny Loomer by 1,500 votes. But the final vote count put Diep, 25, a member of the Midway City Sanitary District board, ahead by a few dozen votes, giving him the second-place win.

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Diep’s election stands as a milestone for the small, conservative city that has been transformed by Vietnamese refugees into the thriving enclave of Little Saigon.

The election once again shows the Vietnamese community’s propensity for voting absentee. Diep said his win was a surprise, that he had not known if the absentee ballots sent in by Vietnamese voters could overcome the 1,500-vote margin he was behind by.

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In neighboring Garden Grove, after thousands of absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Andrew Do secured a second-place finish for a seat on the City Council, edging out Robin Peace Marcario.

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