Orange County authorities are launching an investigation into possible voter registration fraud after a local newspaper reported over a hundred cases of voters being tricked into registering as Republicans by petitioners who asked them to sign petitions for, among other causes, legalizing pot.
The Orange County Register reported last week that the Orange County District Attorney’s office announced it would team up with the Secretary of State on the case, following a Register report that 99 written complaints were filed since March by voters who said they were registered as Republicans without their consent.
Another 74 voters reached by the Register said they, too, were unwillingly made members of the GOP.
In a lengthy investigation published earlier this month, the paper pointed to an $8 “bounty” offered by the California Republican Party for each new registration as a cause for the problems. It identified multiple petitioners who work for vendors “with ties to the California Republican Party.” Back in 2006, a similar scandal led to the convictions of several petitioners.
The Register explains how it went down this time around:
Some voters told the Register they specifically remember marking themselves as something other than a Republican. Others say the petitioner told them they had to check Republican in order for their signature to count, or because Republicans were sponsoring their signature gathering or for some other vaguely official-sounding reason.
In some cases, voters were told marking Republican didn’t change their actual voter registration. Others were told they could always change back. A few even said they didn’t know they were signing official documents of any kind - they said the signature gatherers made off like they were students, collecting signatures for a class project.
Democrats have called on the U.S. Attorney to investigate.
Read the Register’s original story in full here.