Arizona Democrat Pleads Guilty to Alleged Ballot Counting Operation During 2020 Election

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Democrat Pleads Guilty

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”  Psalms 95:6 (KJV) 

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

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 apparently 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.

Republicans who have rallied around the possibility of widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election where former President Donald Trump was defeated have pointed to the charges against Fuentes as part of a broader pattern in battleground states. But there’s no sign her illegal ballot collection went beyond the small-town politics Fuentes was involved in.

Fuentes and a second woman were indicted in December 2020 on one count of ballot abuse, a practice commonly known as “ballot harvesting” that was made illegal under a 2016 state law. The conspiracy, forgery and an additional ballot abuse charge against Fuentes were added last October.

Fuentes said little during a change of plea hearing in southwestern Arizona’s Yuma County on Thursday, just acknowledging the judge’s que…

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