A lawsuit accuses the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office of intimidating a refugee community to prevent them from voting. The suit was filed in federal court on Thursday, according to the Siskiyou Daily News. The action follows accusations made in June by the American Civil Liberties Union. That’s when the sheriff’s office issued a press release that said they were investigating possible voter fraud. The statement said the violations involved people registering to vote in areas where they don’t actually live. Unspecified state investigators were assisted by the sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office as they visited several subdivisions in the Hornbrook area and the McCloud area. Sheriff Jon Lopey said some people were cited for violations of the elections code and District Attorney Kirk Andrus warned that anybody with fraudulent registration had better not follow through with a vote on June 7th. The ACLU alleged, and the suit claims, that was all part of a scheme to instill a fear of voting in the Hmong-American community, which would include hundreds of first-time voters. The ACLU said in June that they sent 30 poll monitors to Siskiyou County to observe the process. We spoke with Sheriff Lopey at length and he called the allegations outrageous and baseless. He says he was requested by a state agency to accompany their unarmed investigators looking into fraudulent voter registrations. He says the agency asked not to be publicly identified, and as a result his office is taking all the heat. There were apparently some 200 suspicious voter registration applications and when they visited the addresses they found many were nothing more than parcels of land, some with marijuana growing on them but few residences or no residential water source or sewage system. Up to 20 complaints are apparently received each day from long-time residents with concerns about the newly arrived Americans and their different standards of living. The sheriff suspected that organized crime had engaged in an aggressive voter registration campaign to try and defeat two anti-marijuana ordinances on the ballot, which ended up passing. The suit points out that no building is necessary to establish residency for the purpose of voting rights, as even homeless people can vote. Also, the plaintiffs say the reason the properties looked abandoned is because the residents were scared away by the presence of officers in tactical gear carrying assault rifles. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is discussing the issue in closed session Tuesday.