In a bombshell report Friday, the Washington Post revealed the extent of Russia’s attempt to hack the U.S. 2016 presidential election, allegedly in hopes of electing President Donald Trump.
In southern California, high school students recently got a little taste of their own in election interference.
A faculty member in charge of student government at Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, California, has resigned her position after school officials determined she rigged recent student body elections, according to local media reports.
On Tuesday, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that fraudulent votes had been cast and changed the outcome of three different elections for student government — junior and senior class president and junior class secretary.
“An audit conducted by the electronic voting service has verified that no other election outcomes were affected by the voting irregularities,” the school’s principal, Mick Wager, wrote in an email sent to parents. “This is a very unfortunate and disappointing situation, and I regret the impact it has had on the students involved and the student body as a whole.”
The wrongdoing was revealed by a parent, Wade Sine, who noticed in the election results that many votes were made shortly after 10:30 p.m. in rapid succession and in alphabetical order, as if someone had been entering the votes all at once, according to KABC.
Sine, whose son was in one of the effected races, brought the information to school officials, who then questioned the adviser, Denise Marie Peterson. Peterson, who has been employed at the school for a year, admitted to altering votes to elect certain candidates. According to CBS Los Angeles, she has since resigned as adviser to student government but is still employed at the school as a teacher, the school district said.
Both CBS and ABC report that Peterson’s motive is currently unknown. The Press-Enterprise, however, cited Sine as saying that he believed support for a “conservative male” candidate had been undercounted.