FAIR OAKS, CA - La Rene Cracraft nearly tossed the postcard from the Sacramento County Elections Department that came in the mail Friday morning -- until she saw the three capital letters in the corner, R-E-P.
Sacramento County elections officials were notifying Cracraft that she had re-registered to vote as a Republican.
"I was upset to see I'm a Republican when I've been a Democrat since I was 21 years old," said Cracraft, 73.
Cracraft called the elections department to report the mistake. "They told me they've received a lot of calls like mine," she said.
Cracraft speculated the registration switch happened when she signed a petition outside the Citrus Heights Walmart or at Sacramento's Arden Fair shopping center last month. She believes someone either tricked her into signing a voter registration form or forged her signature from the petition.
Sacramento County elections spokesman Brad Buyse said registration fraud is not uncommon and is the result of the high price political parties pay to sign up voters. Buyse said parties pay up to $10 for each registration.
"It does create an incentive for fraud," Buyse said.
Buyse provided News10 with a copy of the form letter that is sent to voters when registration fraud is suspected.
Sacramento County elections officials advocate a change in the state law making it illegal to pay for voter registration.
In the meantime, Buyse suggested, voters would be wise to mail in the registration forms themselves or register online.
He said the elections staff was sending a registration form to La Rene Cracraft so she could switch back to the Democratic party.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net