Hmong Community Alleging Voter Suppression in Siskiyou County

siskiyou countyThe Daily Beast, which merged with Newsweek previously, wrote a scathing article on the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s recent attempt to stop voter fraud/intimidate minority voters (views differ widely on what occurred). The Hmong community, which is widely viewed as having moved to the area to grow marijuana, is sueing Siskiyou County.

The Beast began their story with a description of one interaction between a Hmong man and law enforcement.

The plainclothes officer was on Dollarsai Yurgh’s property with an assault rifle to “audit the vote,” he said. But the scene looked more like a stickup.

“Show me your hands!” the officer allegedly yelled, pointing his gun at Yurgh. When he finally left Yurgh’s property, it was with a warning: If Yurgh tried to vote at his current address, police would arrest him for voter fraud.

The story is an interesting look at what some might characterize as locals reacting strongly when “Green Rushers” come to an area to grow marijuana, some as attacks on the right to vote, and others as racial prejudice.

Check out the story here.



  • damn straight.

  • the misadventures of bunjee

    I would take the DB and NW articles with a grain of salt. They’ve had numerous articles over the years pumped up to fit various narratives of whatever other media is promoting at the moment. It is an election year, so everyone needs to be hyped up into the stratosphere. Perhaps Kym could do an investigative piece on her own?

    Voter fraud is a serious accusation in any democratic society. However, if the “suppression” is because the “weed growers aren’t OUR weed growers”, is that a valid argument and folks with a different natural tan are the enemy? Sounds very xenophobic to me. Hmong folks I’ve met are just like you and me; make a buck here and there and take care of our families. They’re not evil people. I don’t feel like we have to ostracize them for no good reason.

    I do have issues with “show me your hands” over a voting issue. Much of that statement sounds invented for story purposes, IMHO.

    • I don’t agree with the way this was handled but there is a serious problem when people can overtake an area to manufacture illligal substances and sue the sheriff, regardless of race, (yes pot is still illegal)

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Agreed, just “one sided story.”

      The sources are not credible either.

      Think about it…..a plain clothes officer just points his gun at someone not black over voter fraud issues in the county…..that is a new claim, different race…….progressive liberalism shit stirring? Time will tell.

    • The older generations seem to be nice and good people however the newer younger generation nor so much

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    Hmongs fought the VC, not like the Americans that ran away.

    Hmongs buy property with old $100’s from them holding back the VC so the Americans could escape.

    I’d take Hmongs next door to humdum, sense of entitlement, stealing, trash any day.

    Hmongs grow food, humdum eat out of Costco.

    More Hmongs, less hundums in Norcal.

    • Yes indeed, the Hmong leaders worked for CIA to secure downed US pilots in Laos…some fighting of VC as a result of this..they deserved immigration to US and citizenship…however, growing opium poppies was major cash crop in Laos here it is weed. Not sure if having a garden grow in Siskiyou qualifies for legal residency and voting rights in that county..if they reside and live there it would seem they should be eligible to register to vote.

    • Way to generalize the whole population, why don’t you give the humong your house and move away please, more humong less you please

  • vote suppression IS voter practiced in the story and in states like NC and Texas, where the republicans have been hard at work to make it harder for people, generally poor blacks, to vote.

    The other side of the republican strategy has been to accuse Democrats of voter fraud while pulling crap like the sheriff does.

    Making the actions even worse are the co-opting the flag and ‘patriotism’ that republicans have done so well, yet here they suppress a people that sided with the US in that war…and THIS is how a right wing sheriff treats them!

    Very patriotic sir!

  • I wish they would do a constitution quiz with all residents, naturalized or not. No pass, no vote.

    • Henchman Of Justice

      Ya, cuz smh would be kicked out for intentionally denying democrats in califuckornia commit voter fraud through crossover ballot rules, party rules, etc…..oh, and Bernie is an example of being a victim of national democrat party voter fraud…..but don’t remind smh…..

  • Nothing new for siskiyou. Siskiyou has been practicing voter fraud for decades. Siskiyou Did it with the hippies/ back to the landers and the river proponents. Siskiyou does it by Not counting their mail in ballets. As well as switching the signatures so they don’t match and are not counted. Yes Lopey is a constitutional law sheriff. Lopey protects and serves the law as he sees fit to his constitutional interpretation. If you are not with him you are against him/ his deputies. Siskiyou has got to be the most corrupt county in California from the top to the bottom, From the supervisors to sheriff to the building and planning commission. So much corruption and inside self dealing. Siskiyou county citizens decades ago coined the term on them “the 40 thieves” to describe the hypocrisy. So disgusting. YES the article is true. You may or may not like the source but the article is true. You don’t have to agree with it but it’s true.

  • I have a lot of family and friends in Siskiyou County, and my parents live fairly close to the Vista area that has been “overtaken” by Hmong marijuana producers…from what I’ve been hearing for years now is that most locals don’t view Hmongs as a problem per se, and they dont necessarily really have a problem with their marijuana cultivation either. The problem is the water trucks of unknown origin constantly visiting their grows, in an area that has little water in the best of times, let alone these last few drought stricken years. The general consensus is they are stealing the water from somewhere, and that is a VERY big issue for people in the Vista and Shastina area, who are at best having to drop their wells hundreds of feet deeper every year to get even marginal household water pressure, and at worst unable to get any at all.

    I’d also like to note that the Hmongs are not new arrivals to Siskiyou County by any means. After the Vietnam War, there were significant amounts of boat refugees resettled into the Weed (ironic!) area, and they’ve been part of the community ever since.

  • Well I have a different hearsay to throw into the mix here. Certain few wannabe big time operators from out of the area bring in Hmong workers and after harvest they return to where they come from. The wannabe bigs are trying to register them here to gain control of the Supes and the County. But for many of the workers this is not really their primary residence, which is where they are required to be registered. If this info is correct… well, you fill in the rest.

    • Even if that is the case (and I don’t know that it isnt, by any means), it wouldn’t be an even remotely realistic possibility that they could bring in enough voters, legitimate or otherwise, to have any real impact on elections or voting. They are a significant minority in a county without significant amounts of any minorities to speak of, but even if they were bringing in busloads of people from Fresno/Sacto by the hundreds on a daily basis, they wouldn’t be significant enough to positively influence much of anything politically, let alone take anything over. We’re talking about a county of 40-50,000 that’s 85-90 percent white.

  • The passing of Measure U banning outdoor cultivation in the county and the use of generators was almost exclusively written in an attempt to push the (technically legal) big Hmong farms out of the Vista area because there was nothing else they could do to curb what was, as I originally stated, viewed as an obscene use of water in an area severely lacking in it.

    Taken directly from Measure U:

    “Existing law requires anyone cultivating marijuana to have a legal source of water on the premises. This measure adds a specific prohibition against the unlawful or unpermitted drawing of surface water for marijuana cultivation or the illegal discharge of water from a premises.”

  • LeAnna Carson-Hansen

    The voting problem we faced during the primary elections earlier this year in south western Siskiyou county was the ineptitude of the elections office to send to the voters their mail in ballots in a timely matter.

    It is not easy for many of the elderly to do the drive to Happy Camp to vote in person.

    If the Hmong are citizens of the USA then they have the right to vote.

    If not legal citizens then it is a non issue.

    Interesting to read that a person was victimized by the brandishing of a weapon.

    Hope that if that indeed happen that there is evidence to prove it.

    Very scary times we live in these days.

    By the way we know numerous folks who did not get their ballots on time to return them via mail.

    • Sheriff Lopey never denied that his deputies brandished firearms; indeed, in previous coverage, he has said that the weapons were necessary because the area the actions took place in was known for its dangerous marijuana grows.

  • The folks I’m referring to and know of are not migrant workers. The Hmong families that are being intimidated throughout siskiyou county are not migrant workers. They are families and folks living in siskiyou. They have every right to live in siskiyou and therefore have the exact same rights as anyone else living in siskiyou. Or the Stae of California. There are migrant workers of every culture and race working in every county. When they are done working they return to the state or county they live in. Wether Or not they work in the marijuana industry or the alfalfa/AG or other sectors.

    Gain control of the supes? The supervisors are elected its the vote of the people. You would need a lot and I mean a lot more votes than just the Hmong vote to upset those seats. Progressive forward thinking is taking place in siskiyou and the old school powers that be feel it. Most of those old powers that be will be dead of old age soon enough and things will change. It’s not just Hmong voter fraud either that siskiyou is committing. Not at all. It is a much wider spread than that. From mail in ballet timing and counting to signature forgery etc. The “wanna be bigs” bringing in people to gain control is conspiracy talk. Some folks need a reason to justify hate, some are just mislead.

    wanna be bigs? In siskiyou? The largest grow in siskiyou isn’t even close to the medium size in humboldt, mendo, Trinity or lake. A survey of google maps or a fly over in a plane will show that. “Waters for fighting, whiskey’s for sharing” the real water users are the hard working veg/alfalfa farmers of siskiyou. Siskiyou county is an AG county. Siskiyou is also controlled by AG interests. The other big water user is Nestle. Don’t forget the water that’s piped to the southern counties and the delta either. Yes Shasta and vista have water issues but to claim Hmong is a distraction from the real issues. If they are getting it from Shasta/vista they are certainly not stealing the water. A water truck driver has every right to use his or hers own well water for what ever they please according to their well rights if any. Water is also truck in from much further distances.

    When you purchase a property in siskiyou you get a piece of paper that states. Siskiyou county is an AG county if you do not like AG drift, AG dust, AG animals or AG smells do not purchase a property or live in siskiyou county. It basically comes down to the word of the year zenaphobia.zenaphobic. Wether it’s hippie, enviro, Hmong, spanish, beatnick, long hair. It’s zenaphobia. Their not OUR farmers or OUR kind is the old school non progressive thinking. Their are more non Hmong growers in siskiyou county, humboldt, Trinity and lake Many, many, many more.

    Siskiyou counties sheriff is a corrupt constitutional sheriff. Sheriff Lopey protects and serves the law as he interprets it and protects the people and interests that align with his beliefs and convictions. It’s a scary time for some to be an out spoken siskiyou county citizen……it always has been. As history repeats all things come to an end the rain stops and the sun shines. The good people of siskiyou deserve better.

    • Nestle is not in Siskiyou County. Crystal Geyser is in Weed, Coca Cola/Dannon used to be in Mt. Shasta (plant now shuttered), but Nestle tried to both build a new plant in McCloud, and when that was thankfully voted down, buy and re-open the former Coke plant in Mt. Shasta. Neither plan has gotten off the ground. McCloud probably won’t ever happen but I bet they end up with the Coke plant eventually.

      Regardless, even Crystal Geysers consumption pales to the alfalfa farmers. Whatever they are doing in Vista, and you’re right that they’re super miniscule up against the big triangle guys, it’s nothing in the grand scheme of water usage. I’m just saying that it’s viewed like that by the locals. When someones kitchen faucet is at a trickle in late summer and their neighbors have a steady traffic of water trucks in and out of their property daily, assumptions start being made and stinks start being raised, whether accurate/justified or not…and those assumptions and stinks led to the passage of Measure U, which now assures it is most definitely not legal to use surface water for marijuana grows (and bans outdoor entirely). Since no permitted private wells in the Vista/Shastina area can really draw enough to support large grows, and a lot of the properties have no power except via (banned) generators, they’ve effectively shut down the Hmong Vista grows without having to officially shut down the Hmong Vista grows.

  • Dont Worry Be Happy

    The Hmong grow thousands of pounds of illegal cannabis. If I were them, I would be thankful the law hasn’t busted my operations all these years. I would be thankful they don’t racial profile me and pull me over every chance they get. I would be so thankful, I wouldn’t give a rats ass if I could vote or not. They are well organized. They are better at what they do than the mexican or bulgarian cartels [edit] selling cannabis at a fraction of what it should be going for. Boggles my mind that some people can kick a hornets nest and stand there demanding they don’t get stung.

  • Look proof of more voter suppression, I’m sure glad Washington doesn’t have one of those racist voter ID laws.

  • Sad Siskiyou has a point. When Capt. Henry Judah’s 40 thieves dropped their progeny in the area (especially Scott Valley), they staked out a zone of hatred that takes on even outsiders who match them in ethnicity. Ask some of those who come from elsewhere and see things in a broader light. Look at Daniel Webster as he took on corruption, and was set up- per popular local opinion at the time- for arrest. Look at what happened to Anna Phelps at Etna High in 1996 (the LA Times even has that one). Look at the last known lynching in Callahan in 1947 and the mystery disappearance of all the newspapers carrying the story the next week. Look at the public servant in Fort Jones who was an inspector for the county, lost his job when he gave an OK without an inspection, then appointed himself some nice position pulling strings in SV (ask the locals on this one- it’s how small town news gets around). Look at the intimidation they ply on anyone not of them, while even the local ball coach has grows in the area (and up near Happy Camp, off the sewer grid that the new rule is supposed to require). Look at the guy who grows in Humboldt but lives in sikoyou half the year whose family has pull in the courts so he can call off the sheriff from watching parties. Good, upstanding folks whose s-t don’t stink and are so much better than anyone else. Sure, there are bad ones everywhere. In Siskiyou they’re the ones in control.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *