- Posted by Kyndra Miller
- On June 7, 2016
- ACLU, Brian Ford, cannabis, CannaBusiness Law, Hmong, Kirk Andrus, Kyndra Miller, marijuana, Primary Election, Randy Daar, Secretary of State, Sheriff Lopey, Siskiyou, Voter Registration, Voter Rights
By Brian Ford
YREKA, CA – With the California primary underway, County officials armed with assault rifles have threatened Hmong citizens of Siskiyou County with felony prosecution and imprisonment if they attempt to vote on June 7, 2016. Siskiyou Sheriff Jon Lopey and District Attorney Kirk Andrus recently announced the County’s assistance with a State investigation into voter fraud, claiming to have provided “security and investigative assistance,” and issued misdemeanor citations for violations of county ordinances. [http://pienpolitics.com/?p=25740]
However, this investigation exclusively targeted Hmong residents of Siskiyou County, and county officials armed with assault rifles have been falsely informing Hmong residents that it is illegal for them to vote. Andrus issued a statement on the investigation, “I put those on notice that have registered to vote at a place where they do not live in an effort to fraudulently impact an election, and then follow through by casting a vote, that we will pursue these cases very seriously.”
Lawyers representing members of the Hmong community have received numerous reports of extreme voter intimidation, and they contend that this is a systematic attempt to disenfranchise Hmong citizens of Siskiyou County through a combined application of county ordinances disproportionately impacting the Hmong community, and a misrepresentation of California election law.
“There is no voter fraud occurring among the Hmong community in Siskiyou County,” says Brian A. Ford, an attorney representing members of the Hmong community. “Essentially, the County is telling the Hmong community that they cannot vote because if they use their property to prove their residence, the county will prosecute them for living there; and if they do not live on their land, the county will prosecute them for voting,” he said. Ford continued, “The fact that officials of the County government carrying assault rifles are making these representations to American citizens, some who fought proudly for this country—it simply shocks the conscience.”
Sheriff Lopey’s own interest in the election cannot be overlooked. There are four measures up for a vote on the Siskiyou ballot tomorrow, several of which Sheriff Lopey has publically supported. Measure S would secure $27 million in state bonds and impose a 0.5% sales tax in the county to fund construction of a new county jail. Also on the ballot are measures T and U, which would ban the outdoor cultivation of marijuana and grant the Sheriff’s greater powers of enforcement.
“The jail alone gives the Sheriff an interest in disenfranchising the Hmong community,” said Ford, “$27 million is a lot of money.”
For more information, please contact Brian Ford or Kyndra Miller at 877-420-4660.