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Yuma County woman faces new election law charge

October 6, 2021 GMT

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — A Yuma County woman who was indicted last year for illegally returning four voted mail-in ballots that were not hers is facing three new felony charges.

The Arizona attorney general’s office announced Tuesday that Guillermina Fuentes was indicted for voting another person’s early ballot in the August 2020 primary election. She was charged with conspiracy, forgery and a ballot abuse count.

Fuentes, 65, a Democrat, is a former mayor of the border city of San Luis. She serves as an elected board member of the Gadsden Elementary School District in San Luis.

Calls seeking comment from her attorney in the earlier case, Anne Chapman, were not immediately returned.

The new indictment alleges that Fuentes obtained and voted another person’s early ballot and forged their signature.

She and another San Luis woman were indicted in December on one count each of ballot abuse for returning four voted early ballots that did not belong to her or a family member in the 2020 primary election. Both have pleaded not guilty.

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The Legislature passed the ban on so-called ballot harvesting in 2016. It bars anyone but a caregiver or family member from returning a mail ballot and carries a presumptive sentence of a year in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in a ruling released in July.