Reports of second homeowners' improperly registering to vote in June Lake continue to raise allegations of unfair play in an election year from both sides in the election for Mono Supervisor of District 3. This issue remains a hot topic with more talk at Tuesday's Supervisors' meeting.
The Mono District Attorneys office has confirmed investigations into possible voter fraud related to the June election in District 3. District Attorney George Boothe states that neither candidate Vikki Bauer nor Dorothy Burdette is under investigation as part of this effort.
The issue came to light after a letter was posted in a local newspaper calling for June Lake residents and second homeowners to register to vote in the June election. The letter also asked that people vote for candidate Dorothy Burdette.
For her part, Burdette says that she has never met the author of that letter. She says she was as surprised as anyone, to read the letter of support in the paper.
When the election results came back in June, 14 votes separated the two candidates. Now facing a runoff election, candidate Vikki Bauer says that after her own research, she counts twenty voters who live fulltime outside of the area that registered after the letter appeared in the paper in May.
At last word no charges have been filed against any voters and the outcome of the June election is not in question. With the November election looming, County Clerk-Recorder Lynda Roberts says that the county is not throwing peoples votes out or cancelling anyones registration. Roberts did send out a letter to owners of second homes that laid out what qualifies as an official primary residence or domicile, for the purposes of voting location.
Roberts explained that a persons domicile does not depend on any one single thing. It could be the place where a person registers a car, lists as renter or homeowner's exemption on taxes, or lists the address on a drivers license.
The letter to second homeowners explains that intentional misstatement on their registration papers is a felony. Those whose voter registration papers list their primary home are asked to ignore the letter. If the listed address is not a persons current domicile, the letter asks the reader to re-register in the county of their primary residence.
Roberts says that these cases are not always clear cut, and that her office is being very careful about their approach to the situation.
Where some see a cautious approach to a sticky situation in an election year, others see voter intimidation. In a letter to the Mono supervisors, June Lake resident Al Heinrich has called for an investigation that looks at whether or not the letter to second homeowners violates the rights of voters.
With less then three weeks to go before the election, this issue continues to boil. While the District Attorney has confirmed that a criminal investigation does exist he has also stated that the two candidates are not under investigation. It is unknown if the DA will wrap up the investigation before the election.