Prominent local Arizona Dem operative pleads guilty to ballot fraud in 2020 elections

Democrats and their media allies have been insistent for the past year and a half that, contrary to the claims of former President Donald Trump and many Republicans, there was no fraud or abuse of mail-in absentee ballots during the 2020 election cycle.

Yet, a prominent Democratic operative in Arizona just pleaded guilty to a felony charge related to so-called “ballot harvesting” during the 2020 primary, Breitbart reported.

That Democratic operative is Guillermina Fuentes, who previously served as mayor of San Luis, Arizona, and currently serves on the board of a local elementary school. She will be sentenced on June 30 and could potentially receive up to two years in prison plus a hefty fine.

Guilty plea

According to a press release from the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R), Fuentes pleaded guilty as part of a deal Thursday to one felony count of ballot abuse, more commonly known as ballot harvesting — or collecting and submitting absentee ballots on behalf of others — an act that the state strictly limited to only immediate family and household members in 2016.

Fuentes, along with an accomplice named Alma Juarez, were both indicted in December 2020 for alleged ballot abuse during the state’s primary elections in August of that year. Juarez already pleaded guilty in March 2022 and will be sentenced on June 16.

As part of the plea deal, Fuentes acknowledged to the court that she “knowingly collect[ed] ballots from another person, and those early ballots belonged to individuals for whom I am not a family member, household member, or caregiver.” Some of those illicitly collected ballots were then provided to Juarez before submission at a polling location.

More serious fraud charges dropped

AZCentral reported that as part of the plea deal with Fuentes, state prosecutors decided to drop several additional election fraud-related charges for which the operative had been indicted.

That includes allegations of a conspiracy involving her, Juarez, and potentially others, as well as allegations that Fuentes had filled out some of the ballots herself and forged the signatures of the voters from whom she had collected the ballots.

Though she ultimately pleaded guilty to just the single charge involving only a handful of illegally harvested ballots, prosecutors had alleged that Fuentes had done much more than that, and asserted that the well-known Democratic operative had actually used her prominent position in the community to engage in a citywide canvassing of San Luis to collect ballots, in some cases even paying voters for their unmarked ballots.

Further, she was actually caught on video filling out an unmarked ballot on at least one occasion, but that charge was dropped as part of the deal.

Prison or probation and other punishments

It is unclear at this point if Fuentes engaged in similar election fraud during the general election in November 2020, but AZCentral noted that the attorney general’s office is still conducting an ongoing investigation into allegations stemming from that election.

As noted, Fuentes is set to be sentenced on June 30, and while it is possible that she could receive up to two years in prison if the judge determines there were “aggravating circumstances,” she could more likely simply receive probation or home confinement, though she will almost certainly be hit with a substantial fine, stripped of her right to vote in future elections, and compelled to vacate her elected position on the local school board.

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