President Trump and his appointees are turning up the heat!
As President Trump surely knows, defeating voter fraud and illegal voting in 2020 will be the key to his re-election.
In fact, many believe it could just lead to the biggest election-day win of all time.
We will see soon enough.
But great news out today from North Carolina, where a bulldog Federal Prosecutor appointed by President Trump is cracking down on Democrats he says are encouraging and allowing illegal immigrants to vote in elections.
GOOD! Enforce the law!
The Huffington Post covered the story (with a typical liberal slant) but it's worth noting nonetheless:
It didn’t matter that Daniel Romanowski tried to warn a clerk he might be ineligible to vote. It didn’t matter that the clerk registered him anyway. It didn’t matter that Romanowski left the box on the voter registration form asking if he was a citizen blank.
To Sebastian Kielmanovich, an assistant U.S. attorney in North Carolina, all that mattered was Romanowski, a Polish immigrant who has held a green card since 2004, voted in two presidential elections and wasn’t a citizen of the United States.
He should have known better, Kielmanovich told a federal judge earlier this month, according to a transcript of the sentencing hearing HuffPost obtained. He should be punished.
The judge agreed. He sentenced Romanowski, who pled guilty to illegal voting, to a year of probation. His sentence included two months of house arrest and a $1,200 fine to be paid out in $100 monthly installments.
Romanowski is one of about 20 legal immigrants being prosecuted for illegally voting in the 2016 election in North Carolina. Many of the incidents appear to be mistakes and misunderstandings, a form filled out incorrectly, a mistaken poll worker. In addition to a criminal sentence, the immigrants could also be deported.
The cases were organized by Robert Higdon, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, a President Donald Trump appointee. So far Higdon’s office has obtained plea agreements from about half of the defendants charged.
He sent one defendant, an American citizen, to prison for accidentally helping her immigrant boyfriend to vote, and he issued a $200 fine to an Italian green card holder who came to the U.S. as a teenager in the 1980s. All of the other defendants have been sentenced to combinations of probation and a fine.
Individuals in the group are receiving sentences on an ongoing basis.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and some lawyers question why Higdon has chosen to use scarce prosecutorial resources to pursue these cases when there are more serious crimes in need of attention. And that scrutiny has further intensified amid a scandal in Higdon’s jurisdiction that revealed absentee ballot fraud benefitted a Republican in a congressional race last year.
In an era when President Trump regularly spreads conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the U.S., HuffPost is closely tracking the cases because they underscore what it looks like when prosecutors pursue voter fraud in an aggressive manner.
Higdon’s office declined to comment to HuffPost and a spokesperson pointed to news releases on the office’s website.
“The right to vote is a precious privilege available only to citizens of the United States,” he said last month after Denslo Allen Paige was sentenced to two months of prison time and a $250 fine for helping her boyfriend, a non-citizen, to register to vote. Even though she had worked as a pollworker, she said he had no idea he was eligible to vote.
“When a non-citizen votes in a federal election it serves to dilute and devalue the vote of American citizens and places the decision making authority of the American electorate in the hands of those who have no right to make those choices,” Higdon’s office said after Paige was sentenced.
Most of the cases receiving sentencing hearings, it appears, were misunderstandings and mistakes made by voters and poll workers. But in February, during a sentencing hearing for Juan Francisco Landeros-Mireles, a Mexican immigrant who has been a lawful permanent resident since 1990, Kielmanovich voiced another concern.
Kielmanovich said he was alarmed by a poll worker who appeared to ask Landeros-Mireles which party he intended to vote for in the 2016 presidential election, something poll workers are not supposed to do.
“He was asked if he was going to vote Republican or Democrat, and he responded, ‘Para la señora,’ which means in Spanish ‘for the lady.’ Kielmanovich said in court, according to a transcript obtained by HuffPost.
Gerry Cohen, an election law expert in North Carolina and a member of the Wake County Board of Elections, said that if a poll worker asked Landeros-Mireles how he was voting during a general election, that would indeed be improper. But, Cohen said, partisan poll greeters often stand outside a voting place and ask people going inside which party they intend to vote for. Cohen said it could be possible that years later, Landeros-Mireles was confused about who he had spoken with when he went to vote.
The HuffPost has actually covered Kielmanovich before in another voting fraud prosecution. Here are those details:
A 66-year-old North Carolina woman was sentenced Thursday to two months in federal prison for helping her boyfriend at the time, a noncitizen, vote, even though federal prosecutors conceded she didn’t check a box on his voter registration form indicating he was a citizen.
The woman, Denslo Allen Paige, was the only U.S. citizen charged among a wave of indictments last summer from the office of Robert Higdon, a Trump appointee for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. She is the first among those charged to receive a prison sentence.
Paige, who works at Walmart, told HuffPost in August that she went with her boyfriend to an early voting site shortly before the 2016 election to see if he was eligible to vote because he had been talking a lot about politics. She said she wasn’t sure whether her boyfriend, a legal permanent resident, was eligible to vote, but because she had volunteered as a seasonal poll worker in the past (and was paid a stipend), she figured someone at the polling place would tell him if he was ineligible. When no one stopped him, he voted.
Paige said she never checked a box on the form indicating he was a citizen, but a copy of the form obtained by HuffPost shows the box was checked. At a sentencing hearing Thursday, Sebastian Kielmanovich, an assistant U.S. attorney, said he believed Paige had indeed not indicated her boyfriend was a citizen, according to a transcript obtained by HuffPost. He noted the boyfriend may have even presented a green card to poll workers.
“I believe the statement she made is true that it was left blank, but somebody later checked it. So it’s not just the defendant and Mr. Espinosa; there’s yet a third person who had to have checked ‘Yes’ after the fact; highly concerning, alarming, and the subject of our ongoing review,” Kielmanovich told U.S. District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan.
But even though Kielmanovich believed Paige had not checked the box, he said she “should have known better” because she had spent time as a poll worker. He said Paige and her boyfriend were essentially testing the election system to see what they could get away with.
“They were just trying to get away with it and see what would happen. And it did work because it was registered,” Kielmanovich said.I wasn’t saying: Go down there and see if you can vote. I wanted to find out if he could. I didn’t know.Denslo Allen Paige
Paige, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting voting by a noncitizen, will serve a year of supervised release after her prison sentence and pay a $250 fine. She had faced a maximum prison sentence of five years and up to a $250,000 fine.
Reached by telephone Friday, Paige declined to comment. Jay Todd, a public defender appointed to represent Paige, also declined to be interviewed.
Allison Riggs, a senior voting rights attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in North Carolina, said she believed Paige got a harsher sentence than the others because of her prior work in elections. Still, she said, Higdon is wasting prosecutorial resources in pursuing people like Paige who were clearly confused.
“It’s this witch hunt to sort of throw prison sentences and claim that there’s voter fraud, but it’s never what they actually claim. It’s not instances of mass numbers of noncitizens claiming they can vote,” she said. “She wasn’t trying to steal an election. She was trying to make someone she loved feel empowered. Have his voice heard. Hardly nefarious intent.”
When Paige spoke in court on Thursday, she said she had never been trained about whether legal permanent residents could vote when she was a poll worker.
“The reason it happened is because there was no training about whether or not legal aliens could vote ― never ― all of the elections I’ve ever worked. And I truly didn’t know, being a U.S. citizen myself,” she said. “I wasn’t saying: Go down there and see if you can vote. I wanted to find out if he could. I didn’t know.”
Todd told Flanagan the manual given to volunteer workers contained little information about whether noncitizens could vote. The circumstance with Paige and her boyfriend, he said, was clearly a mistake, not fraud.
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