From Seattle Times:
Jane Balogh had a pretty good idea who was calling when the phone rang and the caller asked for Duncan M. MacDonald.
Duncan is the dog Balogh registered as a voter seven months before the November 2006 election.
Duncan’s absentee-ballot envelope was signed with a picture of a paw print.
“You can’t sign with a paw print,” the election worker told Balogh on Nov. 9.
“I said, ‘he can if he’s a dog,’ ” answered Balogh, a 66-year-old grandmother and Army veteran who lives in Federal Way.
The election worker told her a supervisor would call, but she never heard from anyone.
After making her point — how easy it is for a voter to register illegally — Balogh will be arraigned in King County Superior Court on Tuesday on a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to a public official.
If she declines to plead guilty, prosecutors told her in a letter this week, they will file a felony charge of providing false information on a voter-registration application. She doesn’t plan to contest the misdemeanor: “I’m not going to claim to be innocent when I know I’m guilty.”
Balogh’s crime was signing Duncan’s name on a registration card under a declaration that he meets all the requirements to vote. She submitted ballots in his name in the September and November 2006 and May 2007 elections. She wrote “VOID” on the ballots, and didn’t cast any votes.
Balogh, who lives with Duncan, an Australian shepherd-terrier mix, and four other dogs and four cats, registered her dog as a protest of a 2005 state voter-registration statute that she says makes it too easy for noncitizens to vote. She put her phone bill in Duncan’s name, then used the phone bill as identification to register him as a voter.
“I wasn’t trying to do anything fraudulent. I was trying to prove that our system is flawed. So I got myself in trouble,” she says.
If she accepts the plea deal offered by prosecutors, they won’t ask for jail time but will recommend she be sentenced to 10 hours of community service, pay a $250 fine and commit no other crimes for a year.
Acting Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg says his office “can’t simply look the other way. They say you should let sleeping dogs lie, but you can’t let voting dogs vote.”
I can’t help but wonder how many other people have done something like that. After all, if she had put a signature on it, instead of a paw print, no one would have noticed.
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