Atascadero Republican activist charged with electioneering at polling place

May 10, 2017

Following the release of a YouTube video published by an opponent of the rejected Santa Margarita quarry project, an elderly Atascadero activist has come in the cross hairs of state prosecutors and is now facing charges.

Edith Knight is facing two misdemeanor counts, and if convicted, could serve up to a year in jail. Knight is accused of violating a legal prohibition on campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place on election day.

During the June 2016 primary election, Knight was filmed while sitting inside the Atascadero Elks Lodge and talking on the phone with a voter. The Elks Lodge was serving as a poling place at the time.

In the YouTube footage, Knight can be heard referencing a voter list that she appears to be holding. Knight asks the person on the phone whether he or she is “planning on coming down.”

Toward the end of the conversation, the individual holding the camera chimes in, saying “you can’t do that in here.”

In the description of the video, a YouTube user with the name “No Quarry on 58” states Knight began the phone conversation by saying she was calling on behalf of the election campaign of Supervisor Debbie Arnold.

“The individual calling people from a list (seated under the picture of the Elks Lodge President) is Edith Knight of Atascadero. I was so shocked she was doing this I videotaped her conversation. What I missed was that she started the call with I am calling on behalf of the campaign to elect Debbie Arnold.”

In the previous election cycle, Knight contributed $837.50 to the campaign of District Attorney Dan Dow, according to Dow’s financial disclosure. The county district attorney’s office did not say whether they are not prosecuting the case due to a conflict of interest.


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TKG

Stunning news. Let’s see, the State Attorney General is a Democrat who is advocating California becoming a Sanctuary State. The “progressives” who support that move are only too happy to protect a 5 time felon and oft-deported illegal immigrant who killed innocent Kate Steinle in San Francisco, but they now want to draw and quarter an 86 year old widow for making a phone call? This has become an Alice-in-Wonderland world. Have you no sense of decency Mr. Attorney General Bacerra?


Free Edith Knight!


jimmy_me

Maybe the Attorney General can make this a sanctuary state for republicans also.


straddle

What the Attorney General should do is fine the corps that hire illegal immigrants.


No wait….Big Grape would never allow that.


mortimer

The REAL crime is that he filmed this vertically!


Pelican1

Slow news day???????


UncleCharlie

The function, purpose and guidelines for poll watchers is pretty simple and clear. As a poll watcher, Mrs.Knight was doing something not within those specific guidelines, but was she breaking the law with regard electioneering? Was she “campaigning”? Was she on a break from her poll watching duties? Is it a violation to sit in your car, a home, or a hotel room, within 100 feet and make voter registration calls?


r0y

I could have sworn that the intent of the electioneering laws were to prevent signs, coercion, and intimidation when someone shows up to vote.


Having a phone call FROM the polling place to someone who is NOT within 100 feet? I don’t know, it kind of smacks of desperation. Now, if she made the call from the middle of the voting area and was very loud, obviously advertising her position/candidate for others in the vicinity to hear, maybe there is a case.


Truth be told, I hear people talking to one another before/during/after they vote discussing their candidate and issue… is that also electioneering? I never was so “offended” that I thought to “video tape” (really? it’s the 21st century) them doing it.


RonHolt

I agree that this situation seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill. A small fine should suffice.


However, for those who think that it should just be ignored, consider what happens when someone gets away with violations of election laws. Since politics seems to bring out the worst and most opportunistic in people, the next person may try to push the boundaries further and it just keeps accelerating until the consequences are enough to stop it. Letting people know that their are consequences — even small ones — for breaking these laws works to discourage others from going further with their actions.


Now, if we can just get these laws applied equally and tightly to all politicians and their supporters. No more fiddling with inaccurate, late or incomplete campaign finance reports would be a good start. Force politicians to be open about exactly which people are pulling their strings.


taxpayer

Seriously, when has it become a crime to be a poll watcher? I want to thank Edie for trying to get people out to vote. It’s nice to know that the person who is charging this 86 year old woman for trying to get people to vote is such a coward that he won’t allow his name to be used. What a petty person!


2good2b4got

Edie Knight has always been the most admirable and ethical patriot I have had the pleasure of knowing. She was doing what most of us can’t or won’t do to get out the vote….aka Poll Watching which is perfectly legal. Calling registered voters that have not yet voted to remind them is perfectly legal and actually appreciated by some of us She did NOT and would NEVER violate any voting laws….since when is a friendly chat to get out the vote a crime. Thank you sooo much Edie for your lifetime of dedication and hard work.


TacomaRose

Ethical patriot? Oh please !!! What she did was not ethical by any stretch of the imagination. She blew it and should be prosecuted … maybe a fine and that probably sufficient. I am a supporter of Debbie Arnold but it still doesn’t excuse Knight’s behavior. You don’t do crap like that Edie and you know better !!!!


Rambunctious

Yeah hang her in the town square, only democrats are allowed to cheat in elections! Who does she think she is?


fhill123

Close to a capital crime!! Wasting time and taxpayers’ money here. Many more egregious crimes being committed daily and not pursued!!


Rambunctious

The democrats are shaken and are going after anyone that may have helped to push Trump into the win column. Whether it is a guy on TV or a Grandmother at a polling place. A dying snake is more dangerous than a healthy living snake. Please…take the money spent to prosecute this women, leave her alone, and give the money to Governor Brown for his stupid train so he will stop finding new ways to tax our butts.


Slosum

Oooooooohhhhh…… a republican doing what democrats do as a matter of general practice. Put the old lady in jail for life!!!


billygatez

Agreed, jail is cheaper than assisted living facility.