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Originally published September 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

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No jail time for Federal Way woman who registered dog to vote

Jane Balogh, the Federal Way grandmother who registered her dog to vote, will avoid a criminal conviction if she complies with a legal settlement...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Jane Balogh, the Federal Way grandmother who registered her dog to vote, will avoid a criminal conviction if she complies with a legal settlement approved by a judge this morning.

The deal requires Balogh, 66, to do 10 hours of community service, pay $240 in court costs and not commit any other crimes in the next year.

A misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to a public official will be dismissed if she complies with the terms of the settlement, which was approved by King County District Court Judge Mariane Spearman.

Balogh was charged with a crime after she registered her dog, an Australian shepherd-terrier mix, as a voter to show that state voter-identification requirements are inadequate. She registered the dog using a phone bill in his name, Duncan M. MacDonald.

She also submitted absentee ballots in several elections that she marked "void" and placed in envelopes with paw prints on the line for the voter's signature.

Balogh said she wanted to fight the criminal charge in court, but decided not to because of the possibility that she could have been convicted of a felony — and stripped of the right to vote. Prosecutors told her they would file a felony charge if the case went to trial.

"I think people will look at it as a joke — and it was funny because my dog was adorable," Balogh said after today's court proceedings. "But this is a serious matter because our democracy is truly at risk."

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said the settlement was fair because it holds Balogh accountable "but it doesn't go overboard in giving her a criminal conviction." He called her crime an act of civil disobedience.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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