Patterico's Pontifications


Civil Disobedience and the Vote (Updated)

Filed under: Public Policy — DRJ @ 6:37 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Is Jane Balogh the Rosa Parks of voter registration?

“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.
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.”

Balogh, a 66-year-old grandmother and Army veteran, made her point: It’s easy for a voter to register illegally. She was also “… arraigned in King County Superior Court on Tuesday [June 19, 2007] on a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to a public official.”

Earlier this week, Balogh agreed to a settlement that included community service, payment of court costs, and deferred adjudication on the misdeamenor charge:

“Balogh said she wanted to fight the criminal charge in court, but decided not to because of the possibility that she could have been convicted of a felony — and stripped, at least temporarily, of the right to vote. Prosecutors threatened to file a felony charge if the case went to trial.

“I think people will look at it as a joke — and it was funny because my dog was adorable,” Balogh said after the court proceedings. “But this is a serious matter because our democracy is truly at risk.”

The prosecutor in the case was Solomon-like in his view of Balogh’s case:

“King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said the settlement with Balogh was fair because it holds her accountable “but it doesn’t go overboard in giving her a criminal conviction.”

Satterberg, who met with Balogh before her court appearance, said it was appropriate to give her a chance to avoid conviction “in light of her service to her country [she served in the Army], her exemplary record as a citizen, and her intent, which really was the most important thing — she did not intend to submit a false vote. “It was civil disobedience to make her political point. She had her point to make, and we had our point to make. We both got to make them.”

Balogh indicated she will work to change the law through the Washington state legislature but the Secretary of State noted that states have no choice under the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, which “… says a utility bill, paycheck or bank statement may be used as identification in registering to vote.”

UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to mention that it took awhile to catch this. Duncan received ballots to vote in the September and November 2006 and May 2007 elections. Balogh wrote VOID on each one and returned them.

18 Responses to “Civil Disobedience and the Vote (Updated)”

  1. If they arraigned her on a misdemeanor, I don’t how they can up it later to a felony if she goes to trial. I’d be shocked if any jury convicted her. Anyway, the prosecutor should have just counseled her and dismissed it. He was way too harsh on her.

    sam (b592af)

  2. Curious how her dog Balogh qualified by having a paycheck, utility bill or bank statement. I wish my dog had a job and a bank account and could help pay the rent and utilities.

    Mark054 (4cd248)

  3. Good point, Mark054, but Duncan only submitted a telephone/utility bill that had Balogh’s name on it. Apparently the voter registration officials didn’t catch it, suggesting that voter registration oversight is lax (to say the least).

    DRJ (2afbca)

  4. i own the world’s best cat, a super-friendly tuxedo longhair, and i would so register her, except i can’t completely trust her not to cancel out my vote, so…no ballot for you, madeline. my geese can’t register, they don’t have names.

    assistant devil's advocate (8d80f5)

  5. “We had our point to make” — Satterberg.

    Apparently his point is that his jurisdiction, voting’s OK for criminal aliens, but not for dogs.

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

  6. No, I’d say that the point would be that we don’t care about illegal voter registration, but we do care about being publicly embarrassed.

    Bill Roper (f93cf2)

  7. I’m looking but I don’t see the “false statement.” Did she in some way suggest that the dog was a citizen? Does a paw print count as a signature? Please explain.

    BTW, the law that I find offensive here is the one making it a felony to “make a false statement to a public official.” Isn’t that, like, almost done for sport?

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  8. And, BTW, how many illegal aliens have they prosecuted under this statute?

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  9. You had better not be comparing Illegal voters to dogs, especially Muslim illegal voters.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  10. So how many illegal aleins are voting in this nation anyway?

    krazy kagu (b1eb84)

  11. Balogh deserves a medal.
    And krazy kagu, I’d guess at least two million fantasy votes were cast in 2004. Of course only some of them are illegals. If Duncan had registered as a Democrat, he’d still be voting.

    Ken Hahn (7742d5)

  12. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me in King “Oh look we found some new ballots” county.

    Taltos (c99804)

  13. What a joke. Seattle had thousands of ballots registered with home addresses were city hall. Are we to assume that city hall has a huge population sub letting premises there?

    The FBI better have lots of poll watchers for the oh so pure ruling elites of Seattle. I hope they all go to jail for election fraud. I am surprised how sheep like the voters are in Washington given the obvious faud in their elections.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  14. You had better not be comparing Illegal voters to dogs, especially Muslim illegal voters.

    You had better not be comparing my dog to a muslim, period, else she will bit you.

    sam (b592af)

  15. Poll watchers? What, do you favor the rule of law or something? You think people should be stopped from illegal voting activity? You must be some kind of racist, then.

    That’s the kind of argument you’ll hear liberals make if you ever get serious about preventing voter fraud. Liberals will wave the bloody shirt and act as if nonracist, legitimate law enforcement is equivalent to the racist actions of some poll-watchers from the past. (Who says the Left hates painting with a broad brush? Oh, that’s right, the Left does.)

    There will be no serious efforts to prosecute voter fraud, because anyone who does will become infamous for doing the right thing–courtesy of our media.

    Alan (f1706f)

  16. Not to be a jerk or a cynic or nothin’, but, does she have any proof that she wrote “VOID” on them?

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  17. Not to be a jerk or cynic or nothin’, but do paw prints and photo of a dog constitute something that might make a potential voter ineligibile? Naw, only if the voter were attempting to register as a Republican. Seattle home of the wandering absentee voter registration form.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  18. Yeah, isn’t Washington one of those “let’s just keep recounting until the Democrat wins” states?

    “oh look, more ballots. Yeah, we would have counted them earlier but we were waiting for the ink to d… er, they were miplaced in transit.”

    Eric (09e4ab)

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