SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) - A California woman claims someone voted in her service dog’s name during the November election, but county officials investigated and say that’s simply not true.
Gemma Renée Locatelli posted an interview with the owner of a service dog named Maggie Magoo Vela on Facebook. The woman, who is not being identified, claims her dog was registered to vote in Santa Cruz County, and someone sent in a mail-in ballot on her behalf.
Locatelli says she initially thought the woman was joking but realized there might be something more to the story after asking some questions.
“I’m a dog mom, so I thought it was kind of cute at first. Then, I realized it was potentially a big glitch that you would have a service dog with a registered microchip that gets transferred as being a human being. I didn’t think that this was honestly legit until she showed me the paper trail,” Locatelli said.
She says she ended up posting the interview because she wants to make sure eligible votes are counted accurately.
In the video, the dog owner says she found out about the registration through an email. She says Maggie’s microchip number was used as a social security number. She went on to say she went to a voting location and was told someone had already voted under the dog’s name with a mail-in ballot.
Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin looked into the claims and says no one was registered in the county by the name of Maggie Magoo Vela. She says the elections office takes all allegations of voter fraud very seriously, and they will investigate every report.
Pellerin also says to register to vote in the county, you need a name, address, date of birth and social security or ID number. The information is verified against data from the California DMV, Social Security and the statewide database for previous registration. The signature on your registration or license is put on record.
If the elections office can’t make a match, then it’s flagged, and the office follows up with the voter to fill in missing information.