Former Alameda County candidate for auditor pleads guilty to election fraud

Kati Knox plead to three misdemeanors.

ALAMEDA COUNTY | Kati Knox pulled out of her race for Alameda County auditor-controller last May just weeks before the June primary after she was accused of falsifying her address on campaign paperwork. Last Friday, Knox plead guilty to three misdemeanors for violating the state’s election laws. Knox will serve three years probation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and pay a $2,281 fine.

Upon filing paperwork for campaign, Knox listed her home address as 1345 Clarke Street in San Leandro. In fact, she lived outside of Alameda County. Investigators found Knox actually lived in Danville, not San Leandro. The address provided, though, was an assisted-living home Knox owned, but did not live. In May, she was charged with six felony counts of voter fraud.

Although Knox, who is the daughter of former Alameda County Supervisor Robert Knox, ended her campaign before the election, her name was already printed on ballots. Nevertheless, she won nearly a quarter of the vote in the race won by then-deputy auditor Steve Manning.

It remains unclear how or why Knox committed such an egregious violation such as being unaware a candidate had to live in the district in which they wished to serve. In addition, she was also a prohibitive underdog to replace retiring auditor-controller Patrick O’Connell.

However, there was more political intrigue involved than just Knox’s violations. Long-running acrimony between Knox and some family members have been rumored to be the impetus for the tip to investigators over her residency issue. But, Knox’s candidacy also posed a small threat to Manning’s election last June.

More than a few East Bay insiders, at the time, noted the political gamesmanship that occurred following the short time frame between O’Connell’s announcement to step down after three decades as auditor-controller and the filing window for the June election. To observers, it appeared O’Connell was seeking to sneak his deputy into the seat without a contested race. Knox, though, prevented this when she filed for the seat on the final day.

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