Over the weekend, police and state investigators arrested the “owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year…on suspicion of voter registration fraud.” Voters charge that Mark Jacoby duped them into joining the California Republican Party by making them believe they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molestors. Watch MSNBC’s report:
TPMmuckraker’s Zachary Roth notes, “Ironic that, for all the GOP-generated sturm und drang over ACORN in the last few weeks, it looks like it’s in fact a Republican firm against whom there’s actual evidence of systemic fraud.”
TAMRON HALL: Here’s what we’re watching right now. Dozens of newly minted Republican voters in California say they were duped into joining the GOP. Reportedly, the California Republican Party hired a firm to register new voters, but some voters actually thought they were signing petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. They did not know, they say, that they actually were becoming Republicans.
And joining us is former prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst is Susan Filan. So Susan, this firm, Mark Jacoby, this guy was arrested and he’s been released on bail. This is a lot about bait and switch.
SUSAN FILAN: Yeah, it’s a real problem, Tamron, though, because your constitutional right to vote in this country is one of your most sacred and fundamental rights. We’re a democracy, that means that the people who govern, who lead us, are elected by us. If our ability to vote and to choose is interfered with, our democracy is at stake.
And what’s happened here in this California charge is that this person supposedly, allegedly, because he’s innocent until proven guilty, told people they were signing a petition but that they had to become a Republican to do it, and switch their parties in some cases. In other cases, he didn’t even tell them that he was in fact switching their party. They thought they were signing a petition, and their party got switched. What’s going to happen to them on voting day when they go to register as their Democratic vote that they thought they were registering, they’re not going to be on the right poll. They’re not going to get to vote.
HALL: What kind of time does this guy face if he’s convicted and found guilty of this?
FILAN: Well, these are felony charges. I mean, it’s not likely that he’s going to get incarcerated first time around. But the fact that he’s gotten prosecuted I think is right because even though people say it’s politically motivated, it’s not. It’s a dereliction in duty of the public officials if they didn’t charge him.
HALL: Alright, Susan, good to talk to you. Thank you very much.