No Jail Time for Washington State Woman Who Registered Dog to Vote

A woman who registered her dog to vote has accepted a one-year deferred prosecution.

Jane Balogh, 66, of Federal Way, can get the charge of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant removed from her record by doing 10 hours of community service, paying a $250 fine and avoiding any violation of the law for the next year, King County District Judge Mariane Spearman said Wednesday.

Balogh registered her Australian shepherd-terrier mix, Duncan M. McDonald, to vote in April 2006 by putting her telephone in the dog's name and using that as identification when she mailed the form to election officials. She said she did it to protest a change in the law that she believed made it too easy for noncitizens to vote.

In November she wrote "VOID" across the first ballot sent to the dog and returned it with an image of a paw print on the signature line. An election official called and she admitted what she had done, but the dog still was sent absentee ballots for school bond elections in February and May.

Duncan M. McDonald was removed from the voter roles in July, three weeks after the charge was filed against Balogh.

Bobbie Egan, a county elections office spokeswoman, said procedures would be reviewed to provide speedier action "whenever fraudulent activity is apparent."