BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — With many big elections coming up, some are starting to worry about voter fraud.
Washington County District Attorney Kevin Buchanan said he’s only started seeing reports of people voting twice in recent years. He said sometimes it’s someone older voting by mail-in ballot, forgetting they did so, and then going to vote in person.
“I think for all of us to feel like participating in the election is meaningful, we need to know, I get one vote and everyone else gets one vote," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Buchanan.
Buchanan said one election that stands out is the vote to legalize medical marijuana in June of 2018.
He said six people voted twice in that election. Two of those were a couple in their 70s. One was a woman in her 20s.
“The person in their 50s happened to be her father," Buchanan said. "And the one in his mid-80s happened to be his father. So, it was a family voter fraud affair.”
That family is Casey VanDorn and her father Max Burchett.
Vandorn said it was her first time voting. She, her father and her grandfather went to the courthouse to vote early together but got confused. She said they thought they were voting in a primary prior to the election and went back the following Tuesday. She said she asked if she could vote again.
“Well, I guess I didn’t explain something right or, you know, there was a lot of people there still too," she said. "And they were kind of rushing us along, saying sign here, sign here then you go get your ballot, fill it out and turn it in. So, I did that, which in turn, I did voting with two ballots.”
Voting illegally is a felony with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Vandorn and her father were given a deferred sentence, put on one-year probation, ordered to pay fines and fees over $600 dollars, and given community service. She said she learned her lesson.
“Definitely pay attention on what you are voting for, on what is on the ballot," she said. "And ask questions, definitely ask questions, and make sure that people do give you answers.”
Buchanan said each time you vote, you sign a form saying you did so, making it easy to trace if you do it more than once.
“It’s a very simple case for us to prosecute," he said. "And, if you’re willing to, bank your future on the good graces of the district attorney's of this state, and out there committing felonies by voting twice, you might want to think twice about that.”
Buchanan also said you must register to vote with your address, not at a P.O. Box.
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