An Arizona woman was sentenced Monday to probation after admitting she illegally cast a mail-in ballot in her dead father’s name.
Marcia Johnson, 70, cast her own ballot and one for her father, Kenneth Johnson, who had died in April 2012.
His name had remained on the state’s voter rolls and election officials mailed ballots each election to his post office box.
Authorities said the daughter cast ballots in eight elections, though she only pleaded guilty to a single felony of voting more than once in the 2018 general election.
On Monday, she was fined $1,000 and given a year of probation. Prosecutors said the felony conviction means she will lose her right to vote in Arizona until the year is up.
“Prosecution is a key deterrent on the rare occasions when illegal votes are cast,” said Gary Restaino, the U.S. attorney for Arizona.
Johnson’s case comes as the country is debating election access and fraud.
Voting integrity experts say the move to more permissive mail voting opens opportunities for fraud, particularly in cases where states haven’t cleaned their voter rolls.
That leaves voters who have died or moved out of the jurisdiction still on the lists — and creates an invitation to mischief, particularly when ballots are automatically mailed out to registered voters’ addresses.
Bloated voter rolls are relatively common, though instances of actual prosecutions for illegal voting in someone else’s name remain rare.
Court documents don’t say how investigators tipped to Johnson’s illegal vote, but said local elections officials in 2020 sent a 90-day notice to the father’s address and it was returned signed with his name.