ARIZONA NEWS

3rd Arizona felon accused of voting illegally in Pima County last year

Oct 26, 2021, 9:30 AM
(File Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)...
(File Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(File Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona attorney general on Monday announced the indictment of a Pima County man who is accused of voting in the 2020 election despite being a convicted felon who had not had his voting rights restored.

The case is the third filed by the attorney general’s office involving a felon who was able to cast a ballot in Pima County last year. Two of the men were registered as Democrats and one as a Republican.

The secretary of state’s office and county recorders receive notices when someone is convicted of a felony and loses their voting rights. The state oversees the statewide voter database and checks new or updated registrations against the ineligible list. That process results in the automatic cancellation of a voter registration if a “hard match” of a felony conviction is found.

It’s not clear how the three men now charged with illegal voting managed to slip through that system. It’s possible the records were never sent to the secretary of state, or that the database somehow missed the new registrations, said Pamela Franklin, the deputy Pima County recorder.

“If we have the information, it should show up,” Franklin said, saying that she was concerned that the convictions were not caught.

“Every new registration we put in gets run against not only the felony database but it gets run again to check for duplicate match, somebody who might be registered in another county,” she said. “It also runs the check through MVD to see if their driver’s license is for foreign nationals.”

If that information is not in the state database, they have to rely on the voter’s affidavit that they sign attesting that they are eligible to vote.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, Sophia Solis, noted that there is no nationwide database of felony records but the state gets regular county and federal conviction reports. She said there may be a time lag for those reports, and that even if a registration is canceled that person could potentially register later.

“The burden is on the registrant to affirm that they are eligible to register to vote,” she wrote in an email.

The indictment announced Monday involves a Sahuarita man who registered to vote and cast his ballot while an inmate at the Pima County jail. The other two cases involve similar circumstances — inmates awaiting trial in the county jail who cast ballots from jail. In one case, the person registered in 2018 and voted in that year’s election and in the 2020 elections.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Ryan Anderson, said he could not comment on how the three cases came to the attention of the AG’s Election Integrity Unit. The unit was created in 2019 to ferret out cases of election fraud or illegal voting.

Inmates held at county jails are given access to voter registration forms. They are also allowed to vote from jail. But if they have previous felony convictions or or later convicted of a felony, their lose their voting rights unless they are restored.

In Pima County, Franklin said that recorders office staff go to the jail to deliver ballots and collect them. Because mail is screened by jail staff, an inmate voter would lose their right to a secret ballot if they mailed ballots back to election officials.

Franklin said in July that the attorney general’s office asked about six potential cases of felons voting, although three of those people did not vote in the 2020 election. All six have had their registrations canceled. The Associated Press has asked officials in several other counties if the attorney general had asked them about felons voting, and none had been contacted.

The indictment announced on Monday against Victor Manuel Aguirre, 46, of Sahuarita, was actually handed up on Aug. 2. Aguirre has been convicted of felony charges in Maricopa County four times between 2007 and 2013 and one felony in 2018 in Pima County.

A call seeking comment from Aquirre’s defense attorney on Monday was not immediately returned.

The Election Integrity Unit has also brought charges this year against a Scottsdale woman who allegedly voted her dead mother’s early ballot in the November 2020 general election.

The unit receives a little more than $500,000 a year in dedicated state funding.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Valley contractor owes employees $2.6M in wages, damages in settlement

A Phoenix-area construction contractor agreed to pay $2.6 million in back wages and damages as part of a settlement reached last month, authorities said.
1 day ago
President Joe Biden tours the building site for a new computer chip plant for Taiwan Semiconductor ...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden touts economic plan at TSMC chip plant in north Phoenix

President Joe Biden on Tuesday visited the site for a new computer chip plant in Phoenix and touted his economic plan.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Child killed in 2-vehicle collision on Thomas Road in central Phoenix

A child is dead and three other people are in the hospital after a collision in central Phoenix on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Special counsel investigating Trump sends subpoena to Valley elections officials

A federal investigator wants know what Donald Trump and his surrogates said to Maricopa County elections officials before and after the 2020 election.
1 day ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
KTAR.com

Pecking orders from Chandler expand rules on keeping backyard chickens

Families in a Phoenix suburb will be counting their chickens, but only up to five, after the city government approved backyard chickens.
1 day ago
(KTAR News File Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Police say possible gun at Scottsdale school was just computer equipment

The student who reported a possible gunman at a Scottsdale high school last week actually saw somebody carrying computer equipment, police said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
3rd Arizona felon accused of voting illegally in Pima County last year