The entrance to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office
Former Santa Clara County sheriff candidate Anh Colton has been convicted of perjury for lying about her credentials while campaigning in 2022. File photo.

A former Santa Clara County sheriff candidate has been convicted for lying about her credentials during her campaign.

A jury verdict has found Anh Colton — the 51-year-old former candidate from Cupertino who came in last place in the 2022 sheriff primary election — guilty of perjury. State law requires that sheriff candidates have at least a year of law enforcement experience within the last five years, or a certificate showing advanced training in law enforcement. Colton had neither, but ended up on the primary ballot and received more than 4% of the vote — raising questions about how to protect sheriff elections from false certifications.

“That was the big point in this trial,” Deputy District Attorney John Chase told San José Spotlight. “The Registrar of Voters is not equipped to investigate candidates to try to figure out whether they do meet the qualifications or don’t. I know firsthand from this case it’s not simple to prove. There’s no easy solution other making people aware that if they lie there are consequences.”

After the Wednesday verdict, Colton was sentenced to the time she had already spent in jail for the offense, totaling 134 days.

Colton could not be reached for comment.

Questions were raised about Colton’s experience shortly after she participated in a candidate forum hosted in late March 2022 by the Silicon Valley Public Accountability Foundation. According to a statement at the time from the DA, the office sent an investigator to Colton’s home in April 2022. Colton referred the DA to her campaign advisor, who allegedly told the office to stay away from the candidate.

The issue exposed weaknesses in ballot designation integrity. In April that year, San José Spotlight inquired about Colton’s eligibility with the registrar of voters, the county agency tasked with operating elections. Officials said the department determines if a candidate is registered to vote in the county and if they are registered to vote for the office they are seeking — criteria Colton met.

A county elections official told San José Spotlight at the time that Colton submitted a signed declaration of candidacy and statement swearing she met requirements for the office. The official added it is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are eligible to run for any office they are seeking, and that the registrar does not have a process under California law to remove a candidate from the ballot.

By the time investigators determined Colton broke the law, the ballots with her name on them had already been mailed.

“Certifying falsely under penalty of perjury is a serious matter, and in an election case such as this one could prevent a legitimate candidate from making the runoff or even winning outright,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

Contact Brandon Pho at [email protected] or @brandonphooo on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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