Voters Warned Against Giving Absentee Ballots to Strangers

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
San Joaquin County Registrar Deborah Hench has received reports that someone is going door-to-door claiming to be picking up absentee ballots for election officials. Hench says the solicitor is an imposter and voters should not give their ballots to a stranger.  HENCH :16—They can put it in the mail. They can deliver it to the polls on Election Day, or they can authorize a family member or member of their household to do that. But no stranger can legally accept a ballot. That is a felony to take someone’s absentee ballot.  Hench directed two people who were asked for their ballots to the sheriff’s department. She also notified the Secretary of State’s office.   The incidents are raising tensions in the fifth district state senate race between Democrat incumbent Mike Machado and his republican challenger Gary Podesto. Andrew Acosta is Machado’s Campaign Manager.   ACOSTA :24—There have been reports of republican operatives being paid five dollars per application for voters to turn their absentee ballot applications in. But if now they’re going and asking these people to actually give them a ballot and it’s illegal then I would hope that the Registrar would investigate these things and prosecute anyone who’s breaking the law.  Podesto spokesman Brian Seitchik refutes the implication, saying their camp advocated that voters apply for absentee ballots – but he says they’re not collecting them.  SEITCHIK :04—We’re encouraging to mail in their ballots or turn them in on Election Day.  The sheriff’s department isn’t commenting on the matter. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State confirmed the office received notification of the incidents, but wouldn’t offer further comment. Bob Hensley KXJZ News.