49er fan suspect in vote fraud: Campaign worker allegedly posed as cop to cast ballot

Lance Williams
from The San Francisco Examiner

Note: Commentary from the "Stadium Vote Fraud Letter" in bold

A football fan who worked as a 49ers get-out-the-vote precinct captain is suspected of committing election fraud in last week's extraordinarily close vote on a new stadium for the NFL team, informed sources told The Examiner.

The headline calls him a "fan." The subhead calls him a "campaign worker." You have to read beyond the headline to see the guy was a freaking precinct captain! That's not a casual job. He is part of campaign middle management.

The sources, who asked not to be quoted by name, said investigators believe John D. Griffin, 41, a 49ers campaign volunteer, is the man who impersonated a San Francisco police officer to cast a vote at a Richmond District polling place on election day.

Earlier that day, the sources said, Griffin also had tried to cast an absentee ballot at the Registrar of Voters office, but left when asked for identification.

Griffin cast an additional ballot, this time using his own name, at yet another polling place in the Richmond, the sources said.

The sources said investigators had not been able to determine whether Griffin had cast other votes as well.

They described Griffin as a white-collar worker and avid football fan whose home is decorated with sports memorabilia.

So what? How about explaining what a precinct captain is instead of his place in th socio-economic ladder and his hobbies? Spin alert: lone nut cast one bad ballot. So what?.

On Monday, Registrar of Voters Germaine Wong asked District Attorney Terence Hallinan to investigate the case.

It is the first incident of apparent voter fraud uncovered in the close votes on whether The City should write $100 million in bonds to help build the stadium and allow the development on Candlestick Point.

Alleged improprieties

The 49ers measure won by about 1,000 votes. The team says it won the vote fair and square, but stadium opponents have complained bitterly about alleged improprieties in the election, and this week are combing election records looking for anomalies.

Oh, those "bitter" people who care about fair elections. Why don't they just shut up?

Using another person's name to vote is felony voter fraud, punishable by a term in state prison.

Griffin was not available for comment Wednesday, and 49ers campaign officials could not be reached.

Aren't these the same guys who muscled their way into the news every day for months? Why so shy?

Jim Ross, spokesman for the anti-stadium campaign, said he wanted to know whether the incident was part of a pattern.

"It'll be important to hear what the guy has to say," he said. "It's important to see if he can shed any light on whether there are other cases like this."

The sources said the voter fraud case hinged on the work of a city attorney's investigator, Alexander Clemens, who had volunteered to work on election day as a field inspector for the registrar. He declined to be interviewed.

Finally, a hero in this case. Thank you, Mr. Clemens.

A noticeable presence

But according to the sources, Clemens was at the Registrar of Voters office department early June 3 when he noticed Griffin, a beefy, 6-foot-6-inch man with a goatee, attempting to cast an absentee ballot.

Ordinarily, voters are not asked for identification at their polling place, but election officers were requiring IDs for absentee voting on election day. When Griffin was asked for an ID, he turned and left, the sources said.

Hours later, the sources said, investigator Clemens dropped by a polling place in a toy store on Balboa Avenue.

While he was there, the sources said, the investigator recognized Griffin, who was scanning the precinct's voter list. Later, Griffin allegedly signed the voter book as "William Griffin," the name of a police officer, and cast a ballot.

OK. How did he know the police officer was assigned to the voting office and couldn't cast a ballot at his polling place? Or did he just vote under the name Griffin at every polling place in the city he could get to with his mayor provided "Official Vehicle - Park Anywhere" permit?

Suspicious because of the previous encounter, the investigator decided to verify that Griffin's vote was on the up-and-up.

So, with the system we have, we're only likely to catch suspicious-acting 6'6" guys with goatees, if we're lucky enough that a city attorney's investigator happens to volunteer to watch the polling place where the alleged crime takes place. Sounds like airtight vote security to me.

The sources said he had quickly learned that Griffin had cast his vote using the name of a policeman who himself was unable to get to the polls because he had been assigned to the security detail at the registrar's office.

The sources said voter records showed that Griffin had also voted using his own name at a polling place outside his precinct. He apparently did not vote at his own precinct.

The investigator managed to learn Griffin's true identity, then wrote a report to the registrar about the matter, the sources said. The district attorney was called in after that.

Call District Attorney's office Terence Hallinan's office at 415-553-1752 and tell them you want this case prosecuted to the full extent of the law.