A two-vote margin of victory. At least two fraudulent ballots:
After a three-month investigation, state police have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of voter fraud in the Española city election that saw an incumbent councilor lose his seat by two votes.
The defendant is Dyon Herrera, who was a campaign volunteer for now-Councilor Robert Seeds. Seeds defeated former Councilor Cory Lewis 238 to 236 in the March election. What stood out was that Seeds received 94 votes by absentee ballot — two times more than the combined total of seven other candidates for City Council seats. Lewis received 10 votes by absentee ballot.
Herrera is charged with two counts of falsifying signatures on two absentee ballots and one count of falsifying a signature on an application for an absentee ballot. All are fourth-degree felonies.
The state police investigation found that “there were absentee ballots which had discrepancies in the signatures,” though investigators did not say how many or whether all the fraudsters could be identified.
Lewis also investigated for a civil suit he filed challenging the election results. After reviewing the absentee ballot envelopes, which voters must sign, Lewis’ lawyer identified 23 voters who may not have signed the envelopes for absentee ballots submitted in their name. “Somebody other than the actual voter signed those,” Lewis said. “I think it’s safe to say one person did several of them.”
Just to recap: Voter fraud does exist, it can and does change the outcome of elections, and people are willing to risk felony charges to commit voter fraud.