86-year-old woman's voter fraud case dismissed

4:49 PM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETER, Minn. - A Nicollet County judge dismissed the voter fraud case against an 86-year-old St. Peter woman.

When Margaret Schneider went to the St. Peter Community Center last August, she walked in as a voter, and walked out as a possible felon, charged with voter fraud because she'd mistakenly cast two ballots.

"(A police officer) said, 'Did you vote in this last election?' And I said, 'I sure did.'  And he said, 'You voted twice.' And I said, 'I did?'"

Schneider had first voted by absentee ballot, and then went to the polls on primary election day, forgetting that she'd already voted. She told authorities she has dementia and Parkinson's disease, but they filed charges anyway, saying state law required them to prosecute.

"There are lots of people that say, 'I didn't intend to violate the law or commit a crime,'" said Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Fischer Zehnder. "But they're still guilty."

"There aren't any other conditions besides follow the voting laws," said Bill Sherry, Schneider's attorney. "So Margaret doesn't have to pay any money, or meet with anybody, or do any community service."

And she didn't have to appear in court. Sherry says Schneider is relieved the case is over and the attention that came with it.

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