Buddy the Labrador can now legally vote in New Mexico. OK, maybe not legally
It's official: the 2012 election has gone to the dogs. A New Mexico man has registered his 3-year-old black Labrador, Buddy, to vote. Here, five burning questions:
How, exactly, did Buddy register to vote?
It was easy. Buddy's owner told KOB Eyewitness News 4 in Albuquerque that he was walking past a booth registering voters at the University of New Mexico, and decided to see how hard it would be to use phony information to register. "I made up a birth date [for Buddy], and I made up a social security number," the man, who requested anonymity, told the TV station, "and I had a voter registration card in my hand for Buddy two weeks later."
Perhaps a better question is, why?
The man, a registered Republican, said he wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to commit voter fraud: "Somebody should have verified this information" and taken a look at exactly who (or what) was registering.
So who will get Buddy's vote?
Nobody. The man says he has no intention to cast a ballot posing as Buddy (who, unlike his owner, is registered as a Democrat). Good thing: The Bernalillo County Clerk's Office has found Buddy's card, and alerted the local sheriff of the bogus registration.
Has this kind of thing happened before?
Yes. Another New Mexico man, Don Pizzolato, registered his black Lab mix, Tuckup, to vote in 2010, as an independent. Pizzolato was charged with voter fraud, a 4th-degree felony, although the case has since been dropped. The Sheriff's Office has opened another voter fraud case against the man they believe to be Buddy's owner, Thomas Tolbert, a 45-year-old career Army veteran. Buddy was registered as "Buddy W. Tolbert."
How can these cases slip through?
The Clerk's Office said the state doesn't require counties to verify social security numbers, dates of birth, or even names, although they do screen applications submitted by third-party groups before sending out voter registration cards. "With a system like that in place," cracks Howard Portnoy at Hot Air, "what could possibly go wrong?"
Other stories from this topic:
- Essay: The last word: Why old dogs are the best dogs
- By the numbers: How green is your pet?
- Flashback: Most newsworthy dogs of 2009
- EssayThe last word: He said he was leaving. She ignored him.