Campus Voter Registration Goes Awry

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Some people registered to vote by mail while others did it online. Many others did it at their workplace or at school. When Jessica Gillooly, GCC professor of psychology, registered for a change of address through an organization on campus on May 13, she expected to get her sample ballot and polling address mailed to her in the beginning of October.
“They said they’ll just mail it [her registration] for me, so I thought it was one less thing I need to worry about,” said Gillooly. What she didn’t know was that she would have a lot more to worry about than she anticipated.

When her husband and her daughter, both of whom had registered for a change of address in August at a different location, received their information in the mail in late September, Gillooly got suspicious.
She had her registration number on the receipt from registering, and the phone number of the organization that had registered her. “I called L.A. voter registration to see if my registration number had been registered yet,” Gillooly said. It hadn’t.

She was advised to register again, just to be on the safe side. She registered for the second time, one week before deadline.

Gillooly did not stop there. She made a phone call to the organization that registered her.

When she called the organization, she got an unlikely response. “The man was very rude, he said ‘Who are you? Why are you calling this number?'” Gillooly said of her first telephone encounter with him.
A week after the incident, Gillooly called again and got a similar response. The man who answered recognized her phone number and warned her not to call again. When Gillooly persistently inquired about his name and that of the organization he worked for, she was threatened. “He said, ‘I’m going to trace you down and you’re going to be sorry,” Gillooly said.

She then called the Democratic headquarters in L.A. Gillooly had them run a check on the phone number of the organization. The search came up blank. “It never registered,” Gillooly said.

The organization never registered to be on campus either. “I keep records for the whole year and nobody registered to be on campus on May 13,” said Administrative Assistant, Melanie Brown.

Technically, the organization was not on campus illegally, but it had not followed the procedure to indicate they were in our school and agreed to follow our rules, Brown said.

What worried Gillooly even more was that fact that the same thing happened not only to her but also to students who registered with the organization. “When an outside agency takes registrations, the school cannot guarantee that the registrations will get to where they are supposed to go,” Brown said.

According to GCC Political Science professor, Mona Field, who spoke with members of the organization while they were on campus, the organization worked for the Republican party. “At that time of the year, the Republican Party was paying up to $10 per voter registration,” Field said. “And I know they were on campus during that general time period.”

Brown concurred. “They have to legally register everybody, but if they only get paid for Republican signatures, why would they bother mailing the rest?” In this case, voter registrations, and not signatures were collected.

The organization that collected voter registrations from GCC students and faculty did not return any of El Vaquero’s phone calls and El Vaquero was unable to determine the identity of the organization. They did make it clear that they did not wish to be further contacted, however. True to the history of threats, they threatened to report El Vaquero to the police for harassment.