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Petaluma police may face voter fraud inquiry

By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma has asked the secretary of state’s office to investigate potential voter fraud after it was discovered that four police officers used the Police Department address when they registered.

Election law requires voters to register by their place of residence.

After being alerted of the registrations by the blog of a campaign precinct walker, county Registrar of Voters Janice Atkinson suspended the officers’ right to vote, then contacted them to investigate.

She said three changed their address to reflect their residences, which are in Petaluma. They will be allowed to vote in the Nov. 2 election. A fourth, who no longer works for the department, could not be contacted, she said.

Petaluma City Manager John Brown advised council members in an e-mail that the city had asked the secretary of state’s voter fraud division to investigate. It can take between 7 to 10 days to determine whether a formal investigation is launched.

“It is very likely that they will investigate this case,” Brown wrote. Results would be sent to the county district attorney, who would decide if there is enough evidence to prosecute.

All of the possible violations are felonies, Brown wrote: fraudulent registration, fraudulent document filing and perjury. Fraudulent voting also could be charged if it is determined that any of the officers cast votes outside their voting jurisdiction. A violation of election law requires the intent to commit fraud.

Whether the city conducts an internal investigation will be determined by the secretary of state’s findings.





12 Responses to “Petaluma police may face voter fraud inquiry”

  1. Floyd G Sampson says:

    Crimes committed by Police officers cannot be justified. All it does is encourge more crime. They become criminals of the WORST KIND! And it cannot be tolerated. If they can’t do the time, the criminals shouldn’t do the crime. We don’t need Cowards On Patrol. An innocent person is at risk of getting hurt. The Cowards On Patrol commit crime and laugh at society. They cover for each other. ARREST THEM and put them where they belong, IN PRISON!!!
    Publish their names!
    You CAN’T run for sheriff of Sonoma County unless you’ve been hired by law enforcement for a certain number of years within five years of running. The law is destructive of liberty!! It’s the “commies”!!! They’re trying to reduce us to absolute depotism!!!

    Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  2. BigDogatPlay says:

    I’d agree completely.

    Pretty easy process to cross reference zoning records with addresses. List all addresses in the county zoned commercial, then run that list against the addresses (not the names) of all voter registrations.

    Those that shake out… investigate.

    Rinse, lather, repeat with cemetaries, churches, schools, government offices etc. etc. etc. Once all those “residences of convenience” are purged, then start in on tracking down all the illegals who are registered to vote.

    It’s not hard, a couple of personal computers can do the required data sifting in a matter of a few minutes. What, after all, is the Registrar of Voters office doing in between elections?

    Thumb up 30 Thumb down 4

  3. Joe says:

    OK, Bigdog, but don’t restrict your “investigation” to police departments. To be fair, it should include EVERY non-residential address in Sonoma County where someone has registered to vote– including “progressives” who use non-residential addresses.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 2

  4. BigDogatPlay says:

    What the officers did or did not intend is exactly why this needs to be investigated. As a prior service law enforcement officer myself, and as a Petaluma taxpayer, I want to know whether these officers had some nefarious intent or were merely stupid.

    After all, if these officers were willing to knowingly make false statements on a voter registration, knowing that such false statements can carry the penalty of perjury, it is only right to determine their intent. We have to know that when they testify under oath in a courtroom that they aren’t telling something other than the truth.

    If these officers were lying on their voter registration cards, then what else have they lied about? That, at the end of the day, is not a witch hunt. It is a legitimate inquiry as to the character of the officers and should determine whether or not they should continue to hold their office and serve with the full trust of the public.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 14

  5. SoCoGirl says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Do you honestly think any of these officers intended to commit fraud and perjury? There are many harmless and valid reasons that this could have happened.
    If it is determined the officer’s in question did intend to break the law, then shame on them and throw the book at them just like anyone else; however, it seems like someone is fishing for a reason to “take a stand” against the police.
    Ridiculous.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 36

  6. Joe says:

    Lets do hold everyone equal including Mrs. Obama who encouraged voters to vote democrat while inside a polling place. Of course the media called that a technical violation. Will the same be said here??

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 13

  7. Jasmine says:

    It is interesting that the Press Democrat did a story on special interest contributions to the Second Supervisorial District Race. It is right and legal that these special interests have identified themselves, the source of their funds, and have as required by law identified themselves on literature as the entity that has paid for such.

    What is also interesting is that the Petaluma Firefighters Association Political Action Committee which has also been active politically has not filed any forms with the local jurisdiction (Petaluma City Clerk) for the past two years as of late in the afternoon on Thursday October 21st. The FPPC number for this entity is 1292681. Both city hall and the Fair Political Practice Commission are closed on Friday. The phone number at the FPPC is (866) 275-3772. The question that needs to be asked is have any required forms been filed with the FPPC and has there been any violations for local campaign activity, or fines charged to FPPC number 1292681, if so for what violations, and how much was the fine?

    Again thank you for disclosing the truth about special interests that are playing by the rules. I look forward to reading a story about what is found out about a group that it appears has not followed the campaign finance laws in Petaluma by filling timely reporting of political activity while being active with display signs, and literature distributed throughout the city of Petaluma in a local campaign and may very well be outside of the requirements of the state law as well.

    One of the interesting side bars to police being registered to vote at the city police station is the amazing volumes of mail that must have come to a public building, listed as their residence. Why didn’t someone at the police station question the mail that was coming to a public building? And finally how is it that the officers involved can so easily be registered after the registration deadline? I could see how they might be re registered if the mistake was on the part of the registrar of voters office, but to be able to re register after the deadline when the mistake or violation of the law if you will is solely upon actions they took, how can the registrar of voters make an exception on the deadline and say they will be allowed to vote in this election.

    This episode is all about personal responsibility. At the very least these police employees should suffer the consequence of illegal registration by losing the privilege to vote in this upcoming election.

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 17

  8. STUPID CITY MANAGER says:

    Come on – this is so stupid. The intent of the law is to prevent someone who lives outside a district to vote inside a district. Here, the cops LIVE IN PETALUMA (hello) no fraud here. They simply registered their work address with the Police Dept- just as cops are permitted to do with their DMV license/registration. Lets get a grip here people! Fire the City Manager. And why isn’t the CHIEF OF POLICE standing up for these officers… wimpy if you ask me.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 39

  9. NOTUTOO says:

    @paul…Silly statement, since they’re investigating and all… What other standard would you be talking about?

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 37

  10. paul says:

    and on the other hand, it’s the police not being held to the same standards that the publi is held to.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 17

  11. Karla Sofen says:

    Petaluma’s City Manager obviously does not read the comments on Watch Sonoma County. He could have saved Petaluma a lot of embarrassment.

    Our elected leaders, the registrar of voters, lawyers, our local newspaper — how many people have to react without doing basic legal research or checking the facts?

    Brown’s request is an obvious CYA move. An actual leader would slow this process down and figure out the simple explanation — a mistake — is probably all that happened.

    One more reason to throw out every possible incumbent and give new people a shot across the board in every office at every level. Leadership is dead in politics. No wonder the country is on the verge of rebellion. There’s a reason.

    You’re going to find that this all is the result of some DMV motor voter form screw-up, not criminal intent. You just can’t make accusations without proof. The problem here is the newspaper printing accusations without proof. Don’t we have actual issues? Do we have to manufacture issues?

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 41

  12. Mary Bradford says:

    With all of the nuts out there, if I were a police officer, I wouldn’t want my home address available to the public. Police officers have a tough enough job without worrying about being harassed.

    This is a political witch hunt by a leftest city council.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 47

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