The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 6, 2013

86-year-old St. Peter woman charged with voter fraud

ST PETER — Margaret Schneider will tell you life hasn’t been easy lately.

She uses a walker to get around her small St. Peter apartment, can’t stand for long periods of time and readily admits she’s a victim of senior moments. Schneider, 86, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia is one of her symptoms.

She’s also easily stressed, which became apparent while she discussed with The Free Press the letter she received recently from the Nicollet County Attorney’s Office. It told her she’s been charged with a felony for voting twice during the 2012 primary election.

Schneider doesn’t deny the allegation. She realizes now, after talking with St. Peter police detective Travis Sandland, that she did vote twice. She voted once with an absentee ballot on July 13 and again at her polling place  Aug. 14.

“It had been awhile and I didn’t even remember,” Schneider said. “I was shocked to death because I thought my absentee ballot was for the president.”

Schneider’s daughter, Eva Moore, signed the absentee ballot as a witness.

In most cases, she also would have given her mother a ride to her polling place during the Aug. 14 primary election. The weather was nice that day, however, and the polling place close to Schneider’s apartment, so Schneider walked up to vote on her own.

Sandland’s report pointed out that the letters “A.B.” were next to Schneider’s name in the voter roster book. Those letters show that an absentee ballot already had been cast, so Moore is wondering why the election judge didn’t stop Schneider before she signed the book and voted.

“That’s what I told Travis when he told us about this,” Moore said. “Who is in the wrong? The election judges for not checking or my mom?”

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