Dog Removed from Washington State Voter Rolls After 3 Elections

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Has our elections simply gone to the dogs?  Jane Balogh thinks so after sending in a registration form with her dog’s name on a phone bill for identification and his “paw print” for the signature.  The dog actually received 2 absentee ballots for school board elections as a result. 

The dog’s owner proved her point, dog-1,  county officials-0.  I’ll bark to that.

SEATTLE —  Duncan M. McDonald is finally off the vo rolls after the Australian shepherd-terrier mix was sent absentee ballots for three elections.

King County Elections Director Sherril Huff said she canceled the voter registration Tuesday for the dog owned by Jane K. Balogh, 66, who registered her pet to protest a change in the law that she said made it too easy for non-citizens to cast ballots.

Balogh put her phone bill in the dog’s name, then used that as identification when she mailed in the registration form in April 2006. In November, she wrote “VOID” across Duncan’s ballot and returned it with an image of a paw print on the signature line.

She admitted the ruse when an election official called, but the dog was still sent absentee ballots for school bond elections in February and May.

“Quite frankly, the process did take too long, and it should have been addressed after the November election,” said Bobbie Egan, an elections office spokeswoman.

County election procedures are being reviewed to provide speedier action against voting fraud, Egan said.

The removal came three weeks after Balogh was charged in King County Superior Court with making a false or misleading statement to a public servant, a misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty to the charge in June.

A sheriff’s investigator wrote that she admitted registering the dog under false pretenses “to make a point that anyone could vote, even an animal.”

A preliminary court hearing was pending.