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Voter Fraud or Voter Suppression? Allegations Fly In Siskiyou County

Hmong voters lined up outside the Mayten Fire District building in Montague, California.

Allegations of voter fraud have been followed by allegations of voter suppression by officials in northern California’s Siskiyou County. 

Late last week, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office announced they’d assisted investigators from the state in checking out alleged voter fraud. The release didn’t say what the alleged violations involved or if any instances of voter fraud were found.

But now, local activists say sheriff’s deputies armed with military-style weapons used the investigation to intimidate residents from the Hmong ethnic community in an effort to discourage them from voting. Andy Fusso, with the Siskiyou Forward Movement, says he's concerned.

"This is a community of people who have been in the US for many, many years," he says. "They fought alongside the US in the Vietnam conflict. So it’s not a question of illegals voting. It’s really having targeted a certain ethnic group."

The Redding Record Searchlight reports the state attorney general’s office and the American Civil Liberties Union sent representatives to Siskiyou County in response to multiple reports of voter intimidation by county officials.

Sheriff Jon Lopey calls the accusations “erroneous” and “unfounded.”

“When San Francisco attorneys and the ACLU start getting involved in the county business and then start making accusations when they don’t even have the facts, I think it’s just unwarranted and I think it’s unethical, as well”.

Lopey says he suspects the accusations came from marijuana proponents trying to discredit his county’s law enforcement efforts.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.