A few voters from different parts of California complain that paid signature gatherers for a ballot measure to split the Golden State into six pieces lied to them, claiming the measure did the exact opposite of what it really does.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper submitted signatures Tuesday to qualify his “Six Californias” measure for the November 16 ballot. Stories about this inspired several voters to reach out with strikingly similar tales of alleged fraud.
The company Draper paid to circulate his petitions has been accused of skullduggery in signature-gathering campaigns from coast to coast. That company’s owner said Tuesday these are the first complaints he has heard about this campaign, they’re insignificant in the context of about 1.3 million signatures gathered, and past allegations were trumped up by political foes.
Illijana Asara, 65, of Humboldt County, sent an email Tuesday detailing what she believed to be election fraud.
“Within the last two weeks, I was approached in front of the Dollar Store in Valley West shopping center in Arcata, CA, by a young man with a petition who suggested that if I signed the petition, I would be opposing the Attorney General of California’s intention to split the state into six states,” Asara wrote.
“I told him that I knew that there were people pushing this idea, but that it wasn’t the Attorney General and I didn’t sign the petition. As soon as I said that, he walked away,” she said. “There were lots of people signing, so it could be that a lot of people bought his line. I don’t know if this has happened elsewhere, but since there is so little support for this notion, it may have.”
Another Californian, who uses the Yahoo! name Xrich, recounted a similar story in a comment posted to a news story about the measure.
“I was approached by a campaigner at Walmart who tried to get me to sign the petition,” Xrich wrote. “The canvasser said the petition was to oppose the division of California but I read it and said the proposal was in support of dividing California. … I told him to stuff it, but I bet a lot of people signed it thinking they were opposing, not supporting the division of California.”
Deborah Hernandez, 40, of Orange County, said Tuesday that this is “exactly describing what happened to me.” She said she was outside a Target store in Aliso Viejo about a month ago when a signature-gatherer approached her with the same story about the Six Californias measure, and also misrepresented the content of another measure dealing with criminal penalties.
“I read them both … and I said to him, you’re completely misrepresenting what these things are about,” she said. “Then he proceeded to tell me I must not know how to read and understand these petitions correctly.”
She promptly informed him of her degree in literature from UC-Irvine: “I have excellent reading comprehension.”
“I got really mad, I got into it with him,” Hernandez said. “I told him, you can just stand out here lying to people.”
Indeed, California Elections Code 18600 says anyone who circulates a ballot-measure petition and “intentionally misrepresents or intentionally makes any false statement concerning the contents, purport or effect of the petition” when asking someone to sign is committing a misdemeanor.
Lots more, after the jump…
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