Man Fined for Signing Up Dog to Vote

The man successfully registered his poodle as a Republican.

by / June 11, 2002
LAFAYETTE, Calif. (AP) -- A man who successfully signed up his poodle to vote as a Republican pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor fraud charge and paid a $250 fine.

Donald Miller, 78, registered his poodle Barnabas three years ago to protest the voter registration process.

"It could have been a lot worse," Miller said after his court appearance in Contra Costa County. "I didn't want jail time."

Miller estimates thousands of ineligible California residents are registered voters. To test his theory, he filled out a voter registration card for Barnabas and patiently waited to see what would happen.

Contra Costa County soon confirmed the poodle was a registered Republican. But prosecutors were not so easily amused by Barnabas the GOP poodle once they found him out.

"He violated the law, and he openly admitted it," said Jim Sepulveda, senior Deputy District Attorney for the county.

Miller said he never cast a vote in the dog's name, though the dog did get a jury summons in March.

Miller returned the summons with a written explanation of Barnabas' reticence to participate in the civic process: "I have a short attention span; I have to go to the bathroom quite often; and, besides, I'm a dog."

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