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St. Peter woman, 86, with Parkinson’s and dementia, charged with voter fraud

The 86-year-old woman says she forgot that she’d already filed an absentee ballot in last year’s primary. The county attorney says the law requires filing charges in the case.

The Nicollet County Attorney’s office has filed voter fraud charges against an 86-year-old St. Peter woman who reportedly has Parkinson’s disease and suffers from dementia.

The woman apparently forgot that she’d filed an absentee ballot in July, and then voted in person again in August, says the Mankato Free Press.

Margaret Schneider told the paper she now realizes she did vote twice:

“It had been a while and I didn’t even remember,” Schneider said. “I was shocked to death because I thought my absentee ballot was for the president.”

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The investigation shows that the letters A.B. were entered into the voter book next to Schneider’s name, indicating she’d already filed the absentee ballot, so Schneider’s daughter, Eva Moore, wonders why the election judges allowed her to vote that second time. 

Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer wouldn’t comment specifically on the case, but it sounds like she might have preferred not to file the charges, if the law didn’t require them.

She told the paper that “in all cases when she is notified about a possible voter fraud incident she is required to have it investigated. If there is probable cause to show a crime occurred, she is required by state law to prosecute,” the story  said.

“Normally in criminal cases we have the ability to use discretion,” Fischer said. She also said she could be required to forfeit her office if she doesn’t follow the law.

The Secretary of State’s office confirms that reading of the law.

Schneider makes her first court appearance April 2. The law says what she did is a felony.