Washington State Woman Pleads Not Guilty After Registering Dog to Vote

Duncan the dog is still registered to vote, and his owner isn't pleased.

Jane Balogh signed up the dog in protest of a 2005 state voter-registration law she thinks makes it too easy for noncitizens to vote. She used a paw print to mark ballots on Duncan's behalf.

At first, Balogh said she wouldn't contest a misdemeanor charge of making false statements on a voter registration form. But on Thursday, she pleaded not guilty to the charge that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

She said she changed her mind when election officials claimed her efforts showed the system worked.

"She's just kind of annoyed because Duncan's still on the voting rolls," said her lawyer, Kristen Anderson. "Somebody is clearly not getting the message."

Laura Lockard, King County's acting election program manager for voter services, said there is "an arduous process" to have someone, even if it's a dog, taken off the voter rolls.

Balogh put her phone bill in the Australian shepherd-terrier mix's full name — Duncan MacDonald — then used it as identification to register him as a voter. She submitted ballots in the dog's name in the September and November 2006 and May 2007 elections. She wrote "VOID" on the ballots and didn't cast any votes.