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Man registered dog as Republican, gets jury notice

The Associated Press
Saturday March 16, 2002

LAFAYETTE — Barnabas R. Miller, registered Republican, has been called for jury duty in Contra Costa County this month. 

There are two problems — Barnabas is only 9 years old, and he’s a poodle. 

His owner, Donald Miller, wanted to point out holes in the voter registration system. 

“If I can register my dog, then anybody can register,” Miller told the Contra Costa Times. “You’re supposed to be a citizen. He doesn’t even have a driver’s license.” 

But Barnabas received a jury summons, and now Miller, a 78-year-old retired iron worker, has some explaining to do. 

“He should not make his point in this manner,” said Candy Lopez, the county’s assistant registrar. 

Shad Balch of the Secretary of State’s office said the voter registration form is signed to testify the information is correct — under penalty of perjury. 

Balch said a perjury conviction could get Miller four years in jail. 

Prosecutors aren’t sure if they’ll press charges. 

“I have never heard of it happening before,” said Brian Baker, a senior deputy district attorney. 

California’s voter registration laws changed in the 1970s to let people register by mail, rather than just in person. 

“We try to make it a very simple process,” Balch said, calling California’s voter registration an honor system. 

Miller still has a few days to return the affidavit answering Barnabas’ jury summons.