Arizona woman pleads guilty to ballot collection operation in 2020 election

Arizona woman pleads guilty to ballot collection operation in 2020 election

An Arizona woman accused of illegally collecting early ballots in the 2020 primary election pleaded guilty Thursday in a plea deal with state prosecutors that saw the more serious forgery and conspiracy charges dismissed and limited any potential for a lengthy custodial sentence.

Guillermina Fuentes, 66, who is the former mayor of San Luis, Arizona, pleaded guilty on June 2nd to one count of ballot abuse for her role in an August 2020 primary election ballot harvesting scheme, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s office. Arizona attorney general’s office investigators said the operation was “sophisticated,” reported The Associated Press.

The scheme involved early ballots from other voters that were collected and deposited into a ballot box on primary election day, the office said.

Guillermina Fuentes, 66, could get probation for running what Arizona attorney general’s office investigators said was a sophisticated operation using her status as a well-known Democratic operative in the border city of San Luis to persuade voters to let her gather and in some cases fill out their ballots.

Prosecutors were reportedly unable to prove the most serious charges, dropping three felony counts alleging that Fuentes filled out one voter’s ballot and forged signatures on some of the four ballots she illegally returned for people who were not family members.

Fuentes told The Epoch Times on Friday that the charge was a result of “political witchcraft” and that her political opponents “hated” her.

Fuentes will be sentenced on June 30th. Fuentes will lose her voting rights and she must give up elected office.

Attorney Anne Chapman said in an email Thursday that she had no comment on the charges against her client.

Chapman did however slam Arizona’s ballot collection law, saying it impedes minority voters who have historically relied on others to help them vote. She said “this prosecution shows that the law is part of ongoing anti-democratic, state-wide, and national voter suppression efforts.”

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