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.


Just another case of little things for little minds. Unfortunately it comes with a big price tag for we the taxpayers.


Ian Funke-Bilu is going to wipe the floor with this state attorney! There is a reason this guy works for the state.


Freethebud: since you feel so strongly about enforcing the law I expect you will be writing a letter of support to the Border Patrol thanking them for enforcing our immigration laws by rounding up the illegal aliens in our community.


She knew what she was doing and new it was wrong and even after being warned she continued. This lady deserves to be punished. What good is a law if it’s not enforced?


Yeah? So is recording in a polling place! So whats your point? Get spell check!

Kevin Rice

NOTHING in the video suggests any crime. Encouraging voter turnout is not electioneering.


Did we see the same video? She was asking if the person was going to come down… she was “getting out the vote” – also, she’s in a lobby, not the room where people were voting.

If it is electioneering, it has to be the single weakest case ever to confuse a Deputy AG.

I love the irony of someone recording inside a polling place saying, “You can’t do that in here” – what? Record? Yeah, you can’t. The guy filming is JUST as guilty as this volunteer. If you prosecute one, prosecute the other.


“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.”

The prosecutor flew in from LA and offered to drop the charges if she admitted guilt. Think about that. Prosecutorial over-reach no matter what side the aisle you’re on.


I’m sure a phone call would have cost less than a plane ticket from LA, first class I’d guess or private plane. We all know government types think when it comes to using taxpayer money the sky is the limit.


With all of the illegal voting and election fraud occurring the state goes after her? It’s time for an independent examination of California’s books. Lets turn the tables and investigate the state before these liberals bury us.


“All of the illegal voting and election fraud occurring in the state” ??

Citation, please? Or just more right-wing fake news? Do please provide proof…


Won’t we at least finally know the name of the person who took the video and posted it?, so we can let them know exactly how we feel about the huge waste of our money. Plus another failure of DA Dow, he constantly shows us why he needs to be a one term DA.


What a waste of time and money. Steven Williams, the complaintant reminds me of the smarmy little kid in grade school who ran around tattling on people. This whole trial seems like it was brought because government officials are afraid to say “No” to people. Some guy complains and the government falls all over themselves to placate them instead of just telling them to buzz off..


Yep! Once again your tax dollars wasted on BS.Stand by and watch our wise government officials flush money down the toilet to earn a name for themselves with this continuing prosecution. For What.Nothing!!