Two More Inmates in Pima County Indicted for Illegally Voting in Jail, Also Registered to Vote While There

 

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO)announced that two more inmates from Pima County have been indicted for illegally voting from jail during the 2020 election. Michael Damian Herrera, 25, and Shadae Alexis Smith, 29, both of Tucson, were also indicted for false registration to vote. Both crimes are felonies.

Brnovich, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has made combating election fraud a high priority.

Both inmates falsely filled out voter registration forms indicating that they had not been convicted of felonies or that their rights had been restored. Herrera has three felony convictions, including one for attempted aggravated assault on a police officer. Smith has two felony convictions, both for theft.

In October, a grand jury indicted Pima County Jail inmate Victor Manuel Aguirre of Sahuarita on the same counts. Pima County Jail inmate Kenneth Russell Nelson was indicted for the same in September.

The public disapproves of prisoners voting. A 2019 Business Insider poll found that 75% of Americans oppose it. Of the 35% that say that current prisoners should be allowed to vote, they limit that to nonviolent offenders. In Maine and Vermont, felons never lose the right to vote, something that has not caught on in other states.

Democrats tend to favor giving felons the right to vote after they leave prison. A survey published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science found that those who register to vote after leaving prison overwhelmingly vote Democrat. In New York, almost 62% of convicts who register to vote are Democrats while only 9% are Republicans. In a state that has more balanced numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the population the difference is still stark: 54.% of convicts registered to vote are Democrats while only 10.2% are Republican.

Brnovich is currently investigating the results from the Maricopa County independent ballot audit. He defended two of Arizona’s election integrity laws all the way to the Supreme Court and won earlier this year, in Brnovich v. DNC. He took on the Maricopa County Supervisors multiple times in their efforts to thwart a ballot audit of the 2020 election, backing the Senate Republicans.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Trump reiterated his interest in Brnovich prosecuting the fraud, “Whatever happened to the Rigged and Stolen Arizona Presidential Election that is being investigated, or maybe the words should properly be ‘looked at,’ by Attorney General Mark Brnovich? When will the legislature vote to decertify? People are very upset in Arizona that it is all taking so long, especially when the findings of the State Senate’s Forensic Audit were so conclusive, not even including the recent revelation of 35,000 fictitious votes in Pima County, and precincts with over 100 percent turnout (how do you like that one?). The people of Arizona are anxiously awaiting the decision of the Attorney General. They know what really went on during that Election!”

The two cases are being prosecuted by the AGO’s Election Integrity Unit, which was formed in 2019 to deal with election fraud and illegal voting. The majority of cases in this area prosecuted in Arizona are related to double voting, which is charged as either illegal voting or false voter registration. Penalties include up to 2 or 2.5 years in prison, fines, restitution, loss of voting rights, and/or probation. In the past, these types of voter fraud crimes were not zealously pursued, since the damage was considered so miniscule. In 2012 and 2013, no charges were filed against anyone in Arizona. This year, nine cases have been brought so far.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

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