Former Mayor of San Luis Pleads Guilty to Ballot Harvesting in Arizona 2020 Primary Election

Guillermina Fuentes, the former mayor of San Luis, pleaded guilty this week to illegally collecting early ballots in the 2020 Primary Election as a part of a ballot harvesting scheme.

“Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Guillermina Fuentes of San Luis pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of Ballot Abuse, a Class 6 Felony, for her role in an August 2020 Primary Election “ballot harvesting” scheme where early ballots from other voters were collected and deposited into a ballot box on primary Election Day,” according to an Attorney General Office (AGO) press release.

Fuentes is a precinct committee person for the Democratic Party and sits on the Gadson Elementary School District school board member.

In December 2020, Fuentes and Alma Juarez were indicted for one count of ballot abuse, also known as “ballot harvesting.”

Further investigation in Fuentes and her activities produced more charges in October 2021, including conspiracy, forgery, and an additional ballot abuse charge.

However, according to AZCentral, prosecutors could not prove the subsequent charges, and they were eventually dropped.

In her guilty plea, Fuentes admitted to “knowingly collect[ing] voted early ballots from another person, and those early ballots belonged to individuals for whom I am not a family member, household member, or caregiver. I did this when I possessed four (4) early ballots for the August 4, 2020, primary election, which I later provided to Alma Yadira Juarez.”

Under Arizona’s ballot abuse law, a person cannot collect early ballots from another person outside their family.

Juarez entered a guilty plea earlier this year, according to the AGO. She admitted receiving early voter ballots from Fuentes for the August primary election.

Fuentes will be back in court to receive sentencing on June 30th. Juarez’s sentencing is on June 16th. The maximum sentence is two-year for Fuentes and six months for Juarez. Probation is available in both cases according to the plea.

The Arizona Daily Independent reported on Thursday that two Yuma community activists, David Lara and Gary Snyder, a Republican candidate for State Senate District 23, caught the ballot harvesting Fuentes was involved with in action using a hidden camera in San Luis.

Fuentes’ is the first case to fall under the ballot abuse law, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2021.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for the Arizona Sun Times and Star News Media. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

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