Not a day goes by without new reports raising — or dismissing — concerns of election fraud, particularly mail-in voter fraud.
There are horror stories from around the country.
But how prevalent are those issues in Kern County?
Vote-by-mail fraud has proven to be very rare in Kern County, but it does happen.
In June, Lisa Hammond, 57, of Bakersfield, pleaded no contest to misuse of voter registration information after she filled out, signed and sent in her son’s 2018 vote-by-mail ballot at his request, according to court documents. The incident came to light because the son had moved to Fresno and signed a ballot sent to him there.
Hammond confirmed she signed the ballot sent to her son in Kern. “Yes, there was no ill intent, he moved and I knew how he wanted to vote,” she told investigators.
She was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay more than $500 in fines, court records show.
Another relatively recent voter fraud case involved former Bakersfield Ward 1 candidate Gilberto De La Torre, who was charged in 2018 with fraudulent voting after prosecutors said he voted by mail for another person without their authority. After De La Torre completed 70 hours of community service, the charge was dismissed.
De La Torre denied any wrongdoing. He is running again for the Ward 1 seat.