St. Peter, MN – An 86-year-old woman is accused of voter fraud after casting two ballots during last year’s presidential election. Her explanation? She has dementia and forgot she voted already.
Grandmother Margaret Schneider of Minnesota has never gotten so much as a parking ticket in her entire life, but now she’s staring down a felony charge with a possible $10,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence for voter fraud. During the 2012 presidential election, Schneider cast two ballots: one absentee, and one in person.
“I’ve always voted — ever since I’ve been old enough to,” she explained to her local Fox affiliate. “It’s driving me crazy, I’ll tell you the truth,” she said of the letter that informed her that she had been charged with voter fraud.
Schneider says that she has dementia, and that she struggles at times to remember her own grandchildren. She does daily word-find games to try to keep her mind sharp, but she is unfortunately fighting a losing battle. She says that losing her memory is frustrating enough without having to deal with voter fraud charges now leveled against her.
“It’s very hard to remember everything,” Schneider says of her struggle. “Why didn’t they tell me to go home? That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” she said of the employees at the polling booth.
Somewhat fortunately, Michelle Zehnder Fisher, the county attorney, says that while she’s required by law to file charges against Schneider, she’s not interested in seeing her imprisoned.
“If I have probable cause to believe the crime occurred, I do not have discretion to charge,” Fisher said. “I have to charge it.”
Part of the problem is that voter fraud requirements differ from other crimes.
“I’m given discretion in every other aspect of my job,” she said. “I would like to have that same discretion in voter cases.”
Do you think that the state should go easy on Margaret Schneider? It’s not exactly like the last election was close, was it?