Allegations of voter fraud have been followed by allegations of voter suppression by officials in northern California’s Siskiyou County.
Late last week, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office announced they’d assisted investigators from the state in checking out alleged voter fraud. The release didn’t say what the alleged violations involved or if any instances of voter fraud were found.
But now, local activists say sheriff’s deputies armed with military-style weapons used the investigation to intimidate residents from the Hmong ethnic community in an effort to discourage them from voting. Andy Fusso, with the Siskiyou Forward Movement, says he's concerned.
"This is a community of people who have been in the US for many, many years," he says. "They fought alongside the US in the Vietnam conflict. So it’s not a question of illegals voting. It’s really having targeted a certain ethnic group."
The Redding Record Searchlight reports the state attorney general’s office and the American Civil Liberties Union sent representatives to Siskiyou County in response to multiple reports of voter intimidation by county officials.
Sheriff Jon Lopey calls the accusations “erroneous” and “unfounded.”
“When San Francisco attorneys and the ACLU start getting involved in the county business and then start making accusations when they don’t even have the facts, I think it’s just unwarranted and I think it’s unethical, as well”.
Lopey says he suspects the accusations came from marijuana proponents trying to discredit his county’s law enforcement efforts.