Elec­tion of­fi­cial gets sen­tenced in vot­ing scan­dal

Pushed Mex­i­can cit­i­zen to reg­is­ter

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors won a two-month prison sen­tence against a North Carolina elec­tions of­fi­cial who pushed a Mex­i­can cit­i­zen to reg­is­ter and vote in the 2016 elec­tion.

Denslo Allen Paige, 66, who had worked as a precinct of­fi­cial in Wake County, pleaded guilty last week to aid­ing and abet­ting Guadalupe Espinosa-Pena to sign up.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Paige was aware Mr. Espinosa-Pena wasn’t el­i­gi­ble to vote, but told her that “if he wanted his voice to be heard, he needed to vote.”

She then helped him fill out his form — but had him leave the box for cit­i­zen­ship blank. Paige sub­mit­ted the form, and at some point the box for cit­i­zen­ship was checked, pros­e­cu­tors say.

“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,” said Robert J. Hig­don Jr., the U.S. at­tor­ney for the East­ern Dis­trict of North Carolina.

The U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice iden­ti­fied Paige as “a paid vol­un­teer and for­mer elec­tion of­fi­cial with the North Carolina Board of Elec­tions.” A spokesman later said Paige was “an of­fi­cial with the board of elec­tions at the time she did the of­fense she was sen­tenced for.”

But the state board said it could find no record of Paige. Gary Sims, elec­tions di­rec­tor for the Wake County Board of Elec­tions, said she had worked as a precinct of­fi­cial for them, mean­ing she was paid a stipend to help with a polling place on Elec­tion Day.

Paige’s plea was en­tered Thurs­day.

Also Thurs­day, Dieudonne Soifils, 72, a Haitian cit­i­zen who reg­is­tered and voted il­le­gally in the 2012 and 2016 elec­tions, was sen­tenced to 12 months’ pro­ba­tion.

Soifils, Paige and Mr. Espinosa-Pena were all reg­is­tered as Democrats.

They were among 19 people in­dicted in North Carolina last year for fraud­u­lent vot­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Eigh­teen of them were ac­cused of vot­ing as nonci­t­i­zens, while Paige was ac­cused of aid­ing in il­le­gal vot­ing.

Of the 19, 14 were reg­is­tered Democrats. Lo­gan Churchwell, spokesman for the Pub­lic In­ter­est Le­gal Foun­da­tion, an elec­tion in­tegrity group, said prose­cu­tions for those who aid il­le­gal vot­ing are un­usual.

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