Skip to comments.Prominent Democrat is charged with voter fraud (Washington)
Posted on 07/13/2008 9:57:58 AM PDT by LdSentinal
Todd Stuart McGuire, a longtime Jefferson County Democratic Party supporter, was charged July 2 with voter fraud.
He's accused of either repeating a vote or impersonating his wife, Rebekah, by casting her ballot in a Feb. 6, 2007, special election. Both charges are Class C felonies and carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine, according to charging documents.
Neither the McGuires nor Todd McGuire's attorney Ben Critchlow could be reached for comment last week or Monday.
Todd McGuire is scheduled to appear in Jefferson County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 18.
The McGuires have been prominent in local Democratic Party activities. Todd McGuire is a former treasurer for current Democratic County Commissioner David Sullivan. Rebekah McGuire is currently a Democratic precinct committeewoman.
The case has had political overtones from the start.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Juelie Dalzell, elected as a Democrat, recused her office from the case after it was referred, according to elections protocol, by a canvassing board that included Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Alvarez and current County Commissioner Phil Johnson, also a Democrat and up for re-election.
Dalzell then referred the case to Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly, an elected Republican.
Dalzell noted the political connection a year ago between her and the McGuires and last week also acknowledged that she considers herself a friend of the McGuires.
Dalzell also passed the case on to the Port Townsend Police Department for investigation because the McGuires live in Port Townsend. Dalzell asked that all information be forwarded to Kelly's office.
Kelly assigned the case to several deputy prosecutors during the 17-month investigation. At least one left her office before handwriting exemplars were returned from the Washington State Patrol in March 2008.
Dalzell and Kelly noted that it is common for prosecuting attorneys to ask a neighboring prosecutor to take cases in which there might be a conflict of interest or perception of a conflict. Dalzell has taken cases for Kelly as well.
Watched by state
Kelly apologized last week for how long it took her office to file charges in the case, a case that Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge said Monday was being watched both locally and by state election officials.
While Kelly noted that her office and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall, who is handling the case, were engaged in dealing with murders and other crimes, Eldridge said Monday that the allegation is serious.
"It is very serious. One vote can make a difference. You have one voice and one vote," said Eldridge, an elected Republican.
"When there are irregularities, the system picks it up," Eldridge said, adding that the Washington Secretary of State's office also is interested in the case in light of voting fraud issues that surfaced during 2004 when Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire won the state's top office by 129 votes over Republican Dino Rossi.
Eldridge also noted that her office has never had so much "compelling information to give to the canvassing board."
When Rebekah McGuire's signed ballot came in to the auditor's office and was matched with the signature on her voter registration card, the two did not appear similar, according to information The Leader obtained in February 2007 in an interdepartmental request for a legal opinion sought by Eldridge.
The ballot in question first came under elections staff scrutiny when it arrived at the Courthouse on Feb. 2 in the vote-by-mail election for a City of Port Townsend utility tax proposition and a Port Townsend School District No. 50 maintenance and operation levy.
Looking at the documents in question, Todd McGuire's ballot signature closely resembled the handwriting used to sign Rebekah McGuire's mail-in ballot, in her name.
The auditor's office sent a letter to Rebekah McGuire questioning her ballot.
Not only did Rebekah call the auditor's office and say she was out of the country at the time, she responded to the auditor's letter in a handwritten note delivered to the auditor's office, Eldridge said.
"Dear Betty Johnson, Donna Eldridge & Karen Cartmel: As I said last week on the phone I could not have voted in the Feb. 6, 2007, election as I was out of the county. Thank you for your attention to this. Sincerely, Rebekah McGuire," Rebekah McGuire wrote in a note.
The canvassing board met Feb. 21, reviewed the information regarding the rejected ballot, and sent an interdepartmental request that day asking the prosecutor's office to investigate.
"[Todd McGuire] is a really dear friend of mine and I haven't reviewed the case. I've stayed out of it deliberately," Dalzell said July 3. She also said she had not talked to Kelly about the length of the investigation.
"I haven't talked to her, but it's not unusual for a case like this to sit so long," Dalzell said.
Kelly's office will not bill Jefferson County for staff time but will bill for any extraordinary expense, such as faxing or transportation costs, Kelly said.
Kelly, who has had a number of deputies leave her office in the last year, said she thought she had communicated to a deputy recently to file the case after the handwriting exemplars came through.
Kelly said it took the Washington State Patrol until March 2008 -almost a year - to return handwriting exemplars needed to finish the investigation.
"I had drafted everything before I left and the deputy had looked at it, and I guess we just didn't communicate real well. She was busy. She's been in trials continuously," Kelly said.
"This sort of case isn't going to be as high a priority as a violent offense," Kelly said. "Up until March of this year we didn't have sufficient evidence to move forward," she added.
In the meantime, a number of people have been watching the case and how it proceeds and have questioned the length of time it took to file charges against the prominent Democrat contributor.
Political watchdog Allen Frank, a part-time resident of Port Townsend, is one of them.
"Since McGuire is a big-time Jefferson County Democratic Party activist, including [Michelle] Sandoval's 2000 campaign manager and Sullivan's 2004 campaign treasurer, Juelie Dalzell, a partisan Democrat, did absolutely the right thing handing this off to Deb Kelly," Frank said.
"Seems like Deb wasn't too invested in timely justice in this case -- 16_ months seems like a mighty long time to get to this point," Frank said. "If guilty, Todd disenfranchised all legitimate voters by his actions," Frank concluded.
Todd McGuire volunteered to serve as County Commissioner David Sullivan's treasurer four years ago after his first treasurer died unexpectedly.
Sullivan, who is seeking a second term on the county board and facing a District 2 election challenge from Republican Richard Hild and Independent Sandy Hershelman, said July 7 that his heart goes out to the McGuire family.
"I think it's real unfortunate for all of them to have to deal with this," Sullivan said. "I think it's what people make of it. It's something we probably shouldn't try in public," Sullivan said.
"I think it's important that people realize this type of offense is more serious than people might think of it at first," Sullivan continued, adding that the issue points to the "disenfranchisement of people who are traveling." Sullivan said both McGuires travel.
Both of the McGuires have voted in all elections since the February 2007 election, according to Eldridge.
And Rebekah McGuire has donated $50 to Sullivan's campaign this year.
The Leader has been monitoring the progress of the investigation since it was forwarded to Kelly's office.
In March of this year a Leader reporter filed a public records request to track where the handwriting exemplars went. The reporter was told the case was still under investigation so the information was not available to the public.
Kelly acknowledged in early June that the case paperwork had been lost and she needed to request a copy from Port Townsend police.
On June 10, Kelly told The Leader she would be filing charges on McGuire, which happened July 2.
I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
The big surprise would be a DemocRAT who is NOT involved with vote fraud.
Very, very unusual...
Democrats = The Party of Vote Fraud. If they had to compete honestly, their representation in government would be less than 20%.
Move over, Ann Coulter, there’s a new real fraud in town and guess which party? If this state got rid of all their election thieves, the state and local government might be actually half-decent. Now we have to get rid of that fraud Gregoire. Rossi!
won stole the state's top office by 129 votes over Republican Dino Rossi.
How come the system didn't pick up the
irregularities fraud in the governor's race, when boxes of ballots were "found" just in time for a recount?
Voter Fraud? A Democrat?
Who would have seen that coming....
Are you absolutely certain it is a Democrat? How strange that his party was mentioned. I can’t believe it. Anytime now I expect the article to be pulled from the internet and edited with no party affiliation mentioned.
In addition to being crooked, this Democrat is apparently dumb as a bag of hammers, as well. Even though I’m sure it’s still illegal, why wouldn’t he at least have gotten storied up with his wife, so that she would know to answer any inquiry with, “Yeah, I was out of the country so I asked him to send mine in for me. My bad, sorry for any confusion.” Still illegal, but I bet that wouldn’t have resulted in criminal charges.
The only way they can win anything and it just keeps on happening without any punishment that I know of.
Democrats & Voter Fraud: The tradition continues!