Cops Open Criminal Probe Of New Mexico Republican Who Enrolled His Labrador As A Democrat
A Republican voter in New Mexico is under criminal investigation for signing up his dog as a Democrat in a bid to highlight what he considers deficiencies in the state’s registration process.
The probe, opened this afternoon by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, is targeting Thomas Tolbert, an Albuquerque man who appeared last night on a local TV news station discussing how he had used a phony Social Security number and date of birth to enroll Buddy, his three-year-old Labrador.
The canine’s voter registration card--in the name "Buddy W. Tolbert"--arrived in the mail yesterday. Tolbert, 45, and his four-legged Democrat are seen at right in a screen grab from the KOB Eyewitness News 4 report.
Click here to view a copy of the dog’s voter registration form, provided to TSG by the county clerk’s office (which redacted the fake social security number, a home phone number, and birth date information from the document).
Tolbert, who was not named in the broadcast report, complained that election officials did nothing to confirm the validity of the registration, adding that he had no intention of voting in his pet’s name. He claimed that he was spurred to action after recently strolling across the University of New Mexico campus, where he passed individuals offering to “get voters registered.”
According to the TV report, the man “decided he would see how easy it is to register with bogus information.”
In a statement today, the county clerk reported that if Tolbert knowingly submitted “a fraudulent voter registration, then he will be subject to potential prosecution for voter registration fraud, which is a 4th degree felony in New Mexico.”
After being contacted by county clerk officials, the sheriff’s office this afternoon opened an investigation into the bogus registration, according to a sheriff’s spokesperson. The probe is being handled by a captain in the office’s Criminal Investigation Division, added spokesperson Jennifer Vega-Brown.
Tolbert’s Facebook page includes photos of him posing with Buddy (as seen above), as well as assorted images from what he describes as his 20-year Army career. One picture shows him in military uniform with his “game face” on. In the TV interview, Tolbert is seen wearing a sweatshirt bearing the Army Air Assault logo.