LAPD Cracks down on use of Homeless People for Ballot Initiative Fraud
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, investigators found that homeless people on skid row were taking money, food, or even cigarettes to forge signatures of registered voters on petitions to qualify initiatives for the ballot. This year, the LAPD has cracked down on suspected election fraud on skid row and they have arrested at least eight people on felony charges. According to state officials, petition signature scams are not widespread in California. Officer Deon Joseph, the senior lead officer on skid row, told the Los Angeles Times the following,
They paid individuals to sign the names. That’s an assault on our democracy.
People are often hired to get initiatives on the ballot are usually paid by signature, which is typically $1 to $2, but can be higher. Unfortunately, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last month that would have banned per-signature payment for petition circulators, because he believed that the law could enhance ballot control by “the wealthiest interests.” Investigators claim that they have found no connection to the lobbyists that hired the signature collectors or to the political campaigns behind the initiatives. We will have to wait and see if this continues to be an issue and what steps are going to be taken to prevent further ballot initiative fraud.