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Grand Jury finds no evidence of voter fraud in Santa Barbara County

A Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report looking into voter registration fraud in the county found what it calls a “flaw” in the system.

Neither the State of California nor Santa Barbara County requires any kind of proof of citizenship to register to vote. Even though, registering to vote and turning in a ballot is considered perjury and is punishable as a felony. The state and county depends on the honesty of those who say they are eligible to vote in the United States.

“We have multiple layers of checks to ensure that there are no voter fraud going on and people are only allowed to vote one ballot,” said Joe Holland, Santa Barbara County Clerk, recorder, assessor and registar of voters.

It’s been half a year since the 2016 presidential election, but there are still people who don’t trust the voting system leading the county’s Grand Jury to investigate. Before President Donald Trump won the election, he believed the “rigged” system would favor his opponent Hillary Clinton. After he won, he publicly said “millions” of votes were illegally submitted.

The Grand Jury found no evidence of voter registration fraud in Santa Barbara County.

“I think the Grand Jury got it mostly right. It is a felony for a non-citizen to register to vote. It’s a felony for a non-citizen to vote and we’re not seeing any evidence of non-citizens committing these felonies,” said Holland.

The state doesn’t have a required process in place to verify a person’s citizenship status when they register to vote. County officials are abiding by state regulations.

“There is no national registrations of citizens versus non-citizens. So there’s no database that we can check to find out if someone is a non-citizen,” said Holland.

Ballots can get disqualified if a person voted more than once.

The Honorable Joyce E. Dudley, District Attorney of Santa Barbara County, tells us: “I’ve reviewed the GJ report, it concludes there is no evidence of voter registration fraud in SB county. Of course my office will evaluate any investigation submitted to us by law enforcement alleging voter registration fraud or any other kind of fraud.”

We reached out to Andrew Brown, 2016-17 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury Foreperson, but have not received a response.

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