ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man who went on Albuquerque television anonymously to say he was able to register his dog to vote has been outed as the husband of a campaign worker for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson.
Thomas Tolbert admitted in an email Thursday that he was the unidentified man after the left-leaning group Progress Now revealed his identity.
“I made a mistake and I want to apologize to Bernalillo County clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver (and) my wife, who was not aware of my actions, and the public,” said Tolbert, who is married to campaign worker Heather Wade. “I will take full responsibility for my actions.”
Tolbert had gone on KOB-TV to show the registration that came in the mail on Wednesday for his dog, Buddy.
The report prompted a statement from the county clerk that the man could be prosecuted for voter fraud, a fourth-degree felony.
“It is very disheartening that someone would attempt to present fraudulent information to test a system that the state legislature has intended to foster participation in the voting process,” Oliver said. “I would warn those individuals who think this type of activity is a joke or a ‘gotcha’ that, regardless of their intentions, they have broken the law and will therefore have to be subject to due process of law.”
State law does not require county clerks to verify birthdates, Social Security numbers or other information submitted with voter registration applications, Oliver’s office said.
Wilson campaign manager Bryce Dustman said the campaign learned about the dog’s registration through the media.
“This was very poor judgment by a family member of an employee. He has apologized and this matter is between him and the county clerk,” Dustman said.
In the original television report, Tolbert, a Republican, said he saw a voter registration booth on the University of New Mexico campus a few weeks ago and decided to see how easy it would be to register his dog. He said he signed up Buddy as a Democrat.