Californians crowd SLO courthouse to back woman charged with electioneering

May 31, 2017

Residents from all over California showed up at San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Tuesday to support an elderly Atascadero woman whom state prosecutors have charged with electioneering. [KSBY]

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.

Prior to Tuesday’s court hearing, Deputy Attorney General Abtin Amir flew into San Luis Obispo from Los Angeles. Amir said prosecutors offered to drop the charges if Knight publicly admitted her alleged wrongdoing, but Knight rejected the offer.

During the June 2016 primary election, an opponent of the Santa Margarita quarry project filmed Knight while she was sitting inside the Atascadero Elks Lodge and talking on the phone with a voter. The Elks Lodge was serving as a polling place at the time, and Knight was reportedly volunteering as a poll worker. She was also running for the SLO County Republican Central Committee.

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.” The individual who posted the video on YouTube alleges Knight began the conversation by saying she was calling on behalf the election campaign of Supervisor Debbie Arnold.

Arnold voted in favor of the proposed Santa Margarita quarry project.

However, Knight does not mention Arnold’s campaign during the recording, and the Atascadero woman denies telling voters to support any particular candidate. Knight also denies that she was electioneering and said she was calling voters from the lobby of the building, in a separate room from the polling booths, the LA Times reported.

The California Attorney General’s Office is continuing to prosecute the case despite receiving a letter from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) urging state prosecutors to drop the charges. In the letter, Melendez urged Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to refocus his priorities on protecting and serving the people of California, rather than prosecuting senior citizens for minor and unintentional infractions.

Al Fonzi, the former head of the SLO County Republican Party, said a large number of people appeared at the courthouse Tuesday because they believe Knight is being politically intimidated. The state is politically persecuting an elderly volunteer for the most trivial of charges, Fonzi said.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I don’t know if what she did is illegal or not. If it is, she should get at least a hard “slap-on-the-wrist” sentence. Why? Because if you let a minor violation of the laws go, the next person will feel free to not only do the same but push the limits a bit more.

I also wonder if she had been a Democrat Party official and opposed to the quarry, would most of the people posting here have had the same views? If not, they are hypocrites.

Wait, it gets better. Although there were two larger empty courtrooms, and around 70-80 people were waiting to observe the trial, the courtroom the trial was assigned will hold only 25 spectators! So much for open government. Funny how we find huge rooms for hearings on environmental issues but can’t utilize a suitable, empty, unused courtroom for an 86 year old woman and her supporters.

She is obviously a serious threat to society! At close to $100,000 a year to house prisoners, we are sure getting a good deal here! I will so much safer, knowing she will turn 88 years old before she ever gets out, if convicted!

It all could have been avoided if she simply acknowledged it was inappropriate and promise not to do same in the future?

I hear there are a few job openings in the White House she might consider and be considered…

The accusation to nowhere

This is typical of what these deusch bag beourocrats do for us taxpayers before they go on to double and triple dip their Cal Pers pensions for the rest of their useless lives. Do any of us really want to see an 86 year old woman in jail for this ?

Jury nullification (if it gets that far). Vote “not guilty” no matter what the evidence shows. End tyranny by Sacramento.

That is not elderly.