Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Trump pleads guilty
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Donald Trump last fall pleaded guilty to election misconduct and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
In exchange Terri Lynn Rote’s guilty plea to the felony charge, prosecutors agreed to drop a perjury charge, court records show. Judge Michael Huppert accepted her plea on June 27 and set sentencing for Aug. 15.
Rote is a registered Republican and a Trump supporter. She was arrested on Oct. 21 after showing up at a Polk County election satellite office in Des Moines and tried to cast a second ballot for the November election. She told police that she believed Trump’s claims that the election was rigged and thought that her first ballot would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton. Trump easily beat Clinton in Iowa to carry the state’s six electoral votes in the Nov. 8 election.
Her attorney, Jane White, argued in court documents that Rote wasn’t able to focus for long periods, had other “cognitive limitations,” and that it was unlikely Rote could assist in her own defense. A judge in May found that Rote was competent to stand trial.
Election fraud carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, but court documents indicate attorneys are recommending the judge either suspend or defer any prison sentence and give Rote two years of probation, order 50 hours of community service and require her to pay the minimum fine.
White declined to comment and the prosecutor, Assistant Polk County Attorney Kevin Bell, did not immediately respond to messages left Friday.
Convicted felons in Iowa lose their voting rights until they petition the governor for restoration of the right. A deferred sentence would mean Rote could vote again once she completes probation and pays fines a court costs; a suspended sentence would mean she would have to ask the governor to restore her voting rights.
Rote’s case is one of a few prosecutions for voter fraud in Iowa tied to the November election. Court documents show Eric Hook, 49, of Clinton, pleaded guilty to election misconduct after acknowledging he voted even though he was a convicted felon and had not sought restoration of voting rights from the governor. Court documents don’t say for whom Hook voted. He was given two years of probation in June.