Fraud and intimidation from referendum 71 petition gatherers?
By: Joe Mirabella
It appears opponents to domestic partnerships are hiring petition gatherers with long histories of alleged fraud to achieve their 120,557 goal to quality referendum 71 for the ballot. The Lewis County Chronicle reported on an incident in front of a Wal-Mart in which a paid signature gatherer intimidated voters. His name tag said he was Dan Ricca. The petition gatherer neither confirmed nor denied his identity, but for there to be two Dan Ricca’s with long histories of intimidating citizens to collect signatures is just too coincidental not to be true.
Here is a photo of the suspect:
In October 2006 a Daniel Alwin Ricca was charged in Orange County, California for falsifying voter registration cards. He allegedly told people they were signing a petition to cure breast cancer and fight child molestation. Instead the victims were flipped from their previous political party to Republican. He was allegedly paid $10.00 per flip. At the time the warrant was issued Daniel Alwin Rica was 33. He plead not guilty in November of 2007. A jury acquitted Ricca of the charges in March of 2009.
In 2002 Dan Ricca was accused of forging signatures by a former co-workers in Oregon. During a December 2001 Video Taped deposition of Saul Klein, he claimed he saw Ricca forge signatures and alleged Ricca even hired people to forge signatures for him. The testimony was part of a civil lawsuit brought by OEA and AFT-Oregon against various companies owned or operated by Bill Sizemore. OEA and AFT-Oregon alleged fraud and racketeering by the various businesses, including forgery of signatures on various initiative petitions. During the trial Leesa Beaudoin, a former employee of Oregon Taxpayer United who worked for a short time on initiative petitions testified that Dan Ricca’s petitions were associated with “round table”, a practice of several petition gatherers sitting around a table and forging signatures. In fact during the hearing 376 petitions were presented that were identified as forgeries that were gathered by Dan Ricca. “The jury awarded damages to OEA/AFT-Oregon for a total of $842,000. Because the racketeering charges were proven, under statutes the damages were tripled to just over $2.52 million.”
People are innocent until proven guilty in this country, but there is certainly enough evidence that Dan Ricca is a suspicious individual whose activities should be monitored extraordinarily closely. If there is even a slight chance the Dan Ricca the Chronicle encountered is the same Dan Ricca accused of fraud and forgery, I demand the Secretary of State validate every single signature turned in on Saturday. Standard operating procedure is a 3% review of signatures turned in. Considering what’s at stake, nothing less than a 100% review of the signatures will satisfy me. And if you are on the fence about signing the petition, you should ask yourself, “do I want to give my personal information to someone like Dan Ricca?” If you agree please contact the Washington Secretary of State’s office to let them know your feelings:
Nick Handy, Director of Elections
520 Union Avenue SE
PO BOX 40229
OLYMPIA WA 98504-0229
(800) 422-8683 TDD/TTY