Nevada man accused of voting using his deceased wife’s ballot
Speaking to a Las Vegas news station in November, Donald Kirk Hartle described being “surprised” by the possibility that someone stole his deceased wife’s mail-in ballot and used it to vote. in the 2020 election. “It’s pretty sickening to me, to be honest with you,” he said. KLAS-TV.
But this week, the Nevada attorney general filed two electoral fraud charges against Mr Hartle, 55, claiming he was the one who forged his wife’s signature to vote with her ballot.
“Election fraud is rare, but when it does occur it undermines confidence in our electoral system and will not be tolerated by my office,” Attorney General Aaron D. Ford said in a statement Thursday. “I want to stress that our office will prosecute any credible allegations of electoral fraud and endeavor to bring any violators to justice.”
The announcement from Mr Ford’s office comes months after waves of Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, falsely claimed that the 2020 election was marred by widespread electoral fraud, including the Nevada, a state Mr. Trump lost.
Mr Hartle, a registered Republican, has been accused of voting using another person’s name and of voting more than once in the same election, the attorney general’s office said in the declaration. Each load is punishable by jail time of up to four years and a fine of up to $ 5,000, prosecutors said.
The criminal complaint did not explain how prosecutors came to the conclusion that Mr Hartle had committed electoral fraud. Questions sent to the office of Mr. Ford, a Democrat elected to the post in 2018, did not receive an immediate response on Saturday.
David Chesnoff, an attorney for Mr. Hartle, said in a statement his client “is eager to respond to the allegations in court.” Mr. Hartle is scheduled to appear in Las Vegas Township Court of Justice on November 18.
The Nevada Republican Party cited Mr Hartle’s story as evidence of voting irregularities on Twitter last year, saying Mr Hartle “was surprised to find that his late wife Rosemarie, a Republican, had voted in this year’s election despite her passing” in 2017.
Since the charges against Mr Hartle were announced, however, the party has not corrected the record, said Callum Ingram, assistant professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.
âThe state Republican Party has certainly been pretty silent on this matter since the narrative was overturned,â Dr. Ingram said in an interview on Saturday.
Mr. Hartle is the chief financial officer and treasurer of Ahern Rentals, according to his LinkedIn profile. The company rents construction equipment and is part of the Ahern family of companies. One of its companies, Xtreme Manufacturing, was fined $ 3,000 in 2020 for staging a Trump rally that did not comply with state Covid regulations at the time, said Kathleen richards, spokesperson for the city of Henderson, Nevada.
Nevada was one of many states in November that faced questionable allegations of voter fraud after the presidential election.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske said in a document released in December titled “Facts vs. MythsâThat there was no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud in the state.
Ms Cegavske’s office investigated Mr Hartle’s case.
“Our office takes electoral fraud very seriously,” Cegavske said in the statement issued by Mr. Ford’s office. âOur securities division worked hard to bring this case to a close. “
The Conservative media reported Mr. Hartle’s story. After the state’s Republican Party highlighted the matter on Twitter, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza discussed the case on his show. Then Fox News host Tucker Carlson promotes Mr. Hartle’s account, saying, âWe don’t know who did this. We wish we had, because it is fraud.
For many voters in the state, said Dr Ingram, proving that there was no widespread electoral fraud “is something that no rebuttal evidence, no effort to prove people wrong with it. facts or reasons, will never touch because it is an indisputable article of faith.