MN Majority thinks 86-year-old who voted twice shouldn't be charged with voter fraud
|Michael-Carlos Mitchell (@stmichael36)|
|What's next, Andy Parrish publicly supporting gays who want to marry?|
SEE ALSO: MNGOP Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer blames voter ID failure on "misinformation"
St. Peter resident Margaret Schneiderman voted twice in a primary election last summer. She suffers from dementia and admits she voted twice, but says she simply didn't remember she'd casted an absentee ballot when she voted at her polling place a month later.
Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder told the Mankato Free Press she had no choice but charge Schneider. Zehnder cited a statute that says, "A county attorney who refuses or intentionally fails to faithfully perform [prosecute voter fraud] or any other duty imposed by this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall forfeit office."
But that law could soon change. According to the Free Press, "Bills are moving through the state Senate and House that would change the wording of the law so prosecutors have more discretion" in cases like Schneider's.
The coincidence of the harsh felony charge against Schneider and the proposed statutory change leads Minnesota Majority's Dan McGrath to believe the whole thing is politically motivated. From a Minnesota Majority press release:
"In Minnesota's election laws, in order for this to be a crime, the voter would have to have intent to vote more than once," said Minnesota Majority president Dan McGrath. "Is there probable cause that [Schneider] deliberately, knowingly voted twice? If not, there's no crime. Prosecutors are trying to pretend that they have no choice but to prosecute in cases like this, but in reality, they have been making those decisions and choosing not to prosecute when intent can't be established for years under the current law."Politics aside, it seems everyone can can agree on one thing: Given her age and cognitive condition, poor old Margaret Schneider shouldn't face a felony voter fraud charge.
"It may be that the county attorney is prosecuting Margaret Schneider in order to garner sympathy for her while inaccurately claiming the law that the County Attorneys Association happens to be lobbying to change compels her. It smacks of cold political calculation. The law doesn't need to be changed. If the prosecution can't prove that Schneider knowingly voted twice, she won't be convicted, and following the actions of other county attorneys and the law, probably should not have been charged," McGrath said.