DOTHAN, Ala. — A Houston County woman was found guilty Wednesday of 24 counts of voter fraud for promoting illegal absentee voting, according to the Dothan Eagle.
Olivia Reynolds, 66, was convicted after the jury deliberated for a mere hour.
Reynolds was arrested in May 2014 after an investigation into a 2013 county election she worked revealed evidence of voter fraud.
In the August election, Commissioner Amos Newsome, for whom Reynolds worked, beat challenger Lamesa Danzey by 14 votes. Newsome received 119 of the 124 absentee votes that were cast, but Danzey received more votes than Newsome at the polls, prompting the closer look.
Reynolds is the third suspect in the election fraud investigation to go to trial.
“This case is about the sanctity of the ballot,” said Assistant District Attorney Banks Smith. “They not only defrauded Lamesa Danzey, but all of us when they stole that election… When the integrity of the ballot is lost we all lose.”
During the trial witnesses testified they never wanted to vote for Newsome, yet their ballot was cast for the incumbent.
The Alabama code lays out the penalties for anyone convicted of absentee voter fraud.
Any person who willfully changes an absentee voter’s ballot to the extent that it does not reflect the voter’s true ballot, any person who willfully votes more than once by absentee ballot in the same election, any person who willfully votes for another voter or falsifies absentee ballot applications or verification documents so as to vote absentee, or any person who solicits, encourages, urges, or otherwise promotes illegal absentee voting, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C felony. Any person who willfully aids any person unlawfully to vote an absentee ballot, any person who knowingly and unlawfully votes an absentee ballot, and any voter who votes both an absentee and a regular ballot at any election shall be similarly punished
Ms. Reynolds will be sentenced on September 15th.
As concerns of voter fraud have risen across the country many states, including Alabama, have established voter ID laws and other safeguards.
Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID.
The relatively new law was rooted in a Republican campaign promise in 2010, the year the party took control of the State House for the first time since Reconstruction. It passed in 2011 and first went into use during last year’s primary elections.
According to the law, any of the following documents qualify as a valid voter ID:
• Driver’s license
• Alabama photo voter ID card;
• State issued ID (any state);
• Federal issued ID or US passport
• Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state
• Student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
• Military ID
• Tribal ID.
To receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card, a citizen must be a registered voter and must not have one of the valid forms of photo ID listed above.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has worked with the State Legislature over the past year to ensure any Alabama citizen who needs a free voter ID will have the opportunity to receive one.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015