The Lodi City Council will proceed with filling Shakir Khan’s vacant District 4 seat by appointment after the former council member was arrested and charged with voter fraud last month.

During a special meeting Tuesday, City Manager Stephen Schwabauer told council members that they had three options for the vacant seat — filling it by appointment through an interview process, calling a special election to be held in November, or doing nothing.

However, Schwabauer said that doing nothing would expose the city to possible legal risk, while a special election was projected to cost $25,000 to $50,000.

The appointed successor, who will be selected for the position at a later date, will represent the district until 2024.

A partial screen capture of the Lodi city website taken Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, lists as vacant the District 4 City Council seat last held by Shakir Khan. The council has voted to appoint Khan’s successor. (City of Lodi)

According to the Lodi City Council website, Khan’s resignation was received Feb. 16, but the former councilman’s attorney disputed the resignation by saying his client had not given up the council seat.

Members of the public who attended Tuesday’s meeting voiced their concerns about allowing citizens to vote for those who represent them and said that the open position left District 4, in the east side of the city, unrepresented.

According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, Khan was arraigned last month on 14 felony counts in connection with alleged election fraud from the 2020 election.

His charges included causing or procuring false voter registration, submission of fraudulent registration to California’s Secretary of State, false nomination or declaration of candidacy and fraudulently casting votes.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.