A convicted felon in Tucson was indicted by a grand jury for illegally registering to vote and voting. According to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, 45-year-old Kenneth Russell Nelson falsely stated on a voter registration form while incarcerated that he did not have a felony conviction and then proceeded to vote in the 2018 primary and general election and the 2020 general election.
Nelson was convicted in 2007 of aggravated driving while under the influence of liquor while his license was suspended. He did not have his rights restored. He was arrested for first-degree murder in 2019 for killing his wife, which he admitted to. For the voter fraud, the grand jury indicted him on one count of false registration and three counts of illegal voting, comprising four felonies.
Brnovich has made combating election fraud a high priority while in office. In 2019, he prosecuted another Tucson man for voting both in Arizona and Nevada during the 2016 election. Randy Jumper pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted illegal voting and was sentenced to three years probation. His right to vote was revoked in Arizona.
A study from a few years ago published in The American Academy of Political and Social Science found that seven out of 10 felons register as Democrats. Felons’ votes can make a difference in the outcome of races. The voter integrity organization Minnesota Majority found that 1,099 felons voted illegally in the 2008 congressional race between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman. Franken won the election by 312 votes. The Washington Examiner observed, “It doesn’t require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.”
Former President Donald Trump and Georgia State Republican Chairman David Shafer filed a lawsuit last December alleging that tens of thousands of votes cast in the state during the 2020 election were fraudulent, including 2,560 by felons. The lawsuit was never decided because Trump voluntarily withdrew it after Congress certified Biden’s electoral win. Biden won in Georgia by 12,670 votes.
In 2016, a Democratic elections official in Florida admitted during a lawsuit over ineligible voters that felons voted. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes “acknowledged the processes her office have been using aren’t perfect and that some non-citizens and felons have voted despite not being eligible.” Since then, Florida law changed and now some felons are eligible to vote, as long as they have finished their sentence, paid their fees, and have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses. In contrast, it is extremely difficult in Arizona for felons to regain their voting rights.
Brnovich is currently investigating the results of the Maricopa County independent ballot audit, in order to determine whether any crimes were committed during the 2020 election. While many news outlets have been quick to report that the total number of ballots cast for Joe Biden and Donald Trump didn’t change much between the official results and the audit results, they often fail to address the significance of hundreds of thousands of ballots flagged by the auditors as questionable or possibly illegal, as well of evidence of potentially criminal activity.
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