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Diatribe: Minnesota Grandmother Charged With Voter Fraud After Inadvertently Casting Two Ballots.


VOTEI’m sometimes forgetful.  I admit it.

In my teens, when I first learned to drive, I would sometimes visit my grandparents in the evenings.  We would play cards, eat snacks and enjoy our time together.  When I eventually left their house for the short drive home, I was always instructed to “call when you get there so we don’t worry”.  After I failed to call several times, my grandmother began to twist a wire bread-tie around my finger so that I would remember to call her when I got home.  Many a morning I woke up with one of those things wrapped around my finger having forgotten to call when I got home the night before.

Over the years I’ve had to alter my habits to adjust for a bit of forgetfulness.  My car keys are now always set in the same place when I get home and my wallet always goes on the corner of my dresser.  My routine is relatively consistent and the only thing that I misplace on a regular basis is my cell phone.  (Who among us hasn’t called our own number and listed for our cell phone in order to find it?)  There are also many, many, many Post-It note reminders in my life.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to live with both dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Margaret Schneider of St. Peter, Minnesota suffers from both.  Yet, the 86-year-old woman, who struggles to remember the names of her grandchildren, has been charged with voter fraud after casting two ballots during last year’s presidential election.  While she’s never so much as had a parking ticket, she’s now fighting a felony charge with a possible fine of $10,000 and a five-year prison sentence.  Last summer, Schneider mailed an absentee ballot, forgot that she had done so, and then voted a second time in person.

Give the old lady a break!  She forgot!

When I vote in person, there a long list of “I”s to dot and “T”s to cross and I’m quite confident that I would not be allowed to vote a second time.  Someone besides Grandma Schneider dropped the ball here.  Yes, a second vote was accidentally cast, but it wasn’t intentional and it seems severe to subject her to the same standards as those who knowingly commit the very serious crime of voter fraud.

“Why didn’t [poll workers] tell me to go home? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.” – Margaret Schneider

The county attorney insists that she’s required by law to file charges against Schneider but no one is interested in sending her to jail.

Perhaps if I use more Post-It notes I can curb my forgetfulness.  Or, better yet, it might be time for me to adopt a place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place attitude at home.  I’d always know where to find things and my house would always be clean.

Are YOU forgetful?


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Copyright © 2013

From → Diatribes

  1. I’m in total agreement with you. What’s up with the voter registration process that she was allowed in twice? I wonder how many folks have done this on purpose and haven’t been caught.


  2. There are a lot of “why” questions here.


  3. I actually worked on voter protection during the election and a similar thing happened. Almost. An elderly lady came in and checked in and was referred to the desk where the registration official (paid poll worker) and me (knight in shining armor) sat.

    Absentee ballots can be mailed in for months ahead of time. This lady, like the one in the story forgot that she had voted. We nicely double checked that her ballot had in fact been cast and let her know that she couldn’t vote again.

    Mistakes happen — I don’t think that there is an army of elderly dementia patients trying to take over the country.

    And one or even a handful extra votes, frankly is less of a big deal than the endless lines, poor equipment and other roadblocks that are put in the path of “some” people.

    As you said, D&O, leave the poor lady alone. Go after the folks who are trying to prevent folks from voting. That’s the real story.


  4. The deceitful bitch should FRY!!!!


  5. Barneysday permalink

    Isn’t Minnesota one of the states that pushed last minute voter ID laws to prevent certain groups from voting? And now they want to prosecute one, little old lady?

    Studies at the time showed less than 10, true voter fraud cases, across the entire 50 states! I see politicians creating a problem where one doesn’t exist, just so they can control the outcome, and perhaps further load the vote in their favor.

    No wonder governments are broke; wasting money on this kind of silliness.


  6. I have worked many elections in Canada & it would be just about impossible for this to happen here. Although if there is any question at the poll, the voter is allowed to vote & then a decision is made later. I would have allowed her to vote & have her seal her vote in an envelope without voter officials looking at it. Once it was determined she had really voted ahead, then her vote in the envelope would have been discarded.


  7. No choice? Come on, prosecutors have a lot if discretion.


  8. I’m sorry, what was the question again?


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