Nevada authorities have charged a man with casting a ballot in the 2020 election for his deceased wife.
Prosecutors have charged Donald Kirk Hartle with a pair of vote fraud felonies for casting two ballots including one in his dead wife’s name, Rosemarie Hartle, according to Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, who said in a statement that such incidents were “rare.”
“Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” he said. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”
“Our office takes voter fraud very seriously,” added Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske. “Our Securities Division worked hard to bring this case to a close.”
Both offenses are Class D felonies, punishable by up to four years in prison and fines of $5,000 for each offense. Hartle’s first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 18 in Las Vegas.
The criminal complaint alleges that on or between Oct. 26, 2020, and Oct. 30, 2020, Hartle cast two ballots.
In a previous interview with KLAS, a local CBS affiliate, in November, Hartle said a ballot for his wife had been received by officials in Clark County but added the ballot never came to his house. The outlet investigated and discovered that the woman’s ballot was indeed counted and that her name was listed on the county’s active voter list though she passed away from breast cancer in 2017.
“That is pretty sickening to me, to be honest with you,” Hartle told KLAS. “It made no sense to me, but it lent some credence to what you’ve been hearing in the media about these possibilities and now it makes me wonder, how pervasive is this?”
The state Republican Party referenced Hartle’s case as one of numerous instances of voter fraud GOP officials say helped influence the 2020 presidential election in Joe Biden’s favor. But a subsequent investigation by Cegavske, a Republican, discovered that just 10 of the more than 1,500 people Nevada GOP officials claimed cast ballots though they were deceased were fraudulent, according to the Nevada Independent.
The outlet went on to note that Hartle is the senior chief financial officer and treasurer for the Ahern Family of Companies, per his LinkedIn page. Don Ahern, the owner of the company, was reportedly a huge supporter of former President Donald Trump, the outlet reported. The company hosted one of Trump’s rallies at a manufacturing facility in September, which, at the time, violated COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
Biden won Nevada by about 2.39 percent or nearly 33,600 votes.
The Trump campaign filed a suit in Nevada contesting the election results, alleging that some 15,000 people who voted in the state also cast ballots in other states. In addition, the suit questioned the use of Clark County’s Agilis signature verification machine, used “as a first-pass check on signatures on ballots,” the Independent reported.
However, Judge James Russell ruled against the Trump campaign in early December 2020, writing that plaintiffs “did not prove under any standard of proof that any illegal votes were cast and counted, or legal votes were not counted at all, for any other improper or illegal reason, nor in an amount equal to or greater than 33,596, or otherwise in an amount sufficient to raise reasonable doubt as to the outcome of the election.”
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