Arizona Woman Sentenced for Casting Deceased Mother’s Ballot in 2020 Election

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Casting Deceased Mother's Ballot in 2020 Election Arizona welcome sign Arizona welcome sign. (Dreamstime)

By Jay Clemons | Tuesday, 07 June 2022 02:16 PM

An Arizona woman was sentenced Monday for illegally casting an early ballot for the 2020 general election, on behalf of her deceased mother, according to officials.

Krista Michelle Conner, 56, of Cochise County, Arizona, received three years of supervised probation and was told to pay nearly $900 in fines and surcharges.

Conner will also have to complete 100 hours of community service, as part of her sentencing.

In court documents, the Arizona Attorney General's office previously concluded that Conner illegally signed her deceased mother's early-ballot envelope, in the runup to the presidential election of November 2020.

"Said conduct occurred when KRISTA MICHELLE CONNER, knowingly signed the name of Caroline Jeanne Sullivan to a declaration under penalty of perjury located on the November 3, 2020, General Election early ballot envelope for deceased elector Caroline Jeanne Sullivan," the Arizona AG office wrote in an indictment.

Conner's mother, Caroline Jeanne Sullivan died on Sept. 7, 2020, or two months before the November 2020 election, authorities said.

For that election, Arizona officials ultimately declared victory for then-candidate Joe Biden, who defeated then-President Donald Trump by roughly 11,000 votes in the state.

Arizona contributes 11 electoral votes to the presidential race to 270 electoral votes.

Conner was indicted several months ago and pleaded guilty to one count of attempted illegal voting in Cochise County Superior Court, according to reports.

It's worth noting: Authorities did not say whether Conner registered as a Democrat or Republican.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office Election Integrity Unit initially investigated Conner's case, which was subsequently prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson.

Conner's case isn't an unprecedented occurrence in Arizona:

  • For the November 2020 general election, a Scottsdale woman was sentenced to probation in April for casting her deceased mother's official ballot.
  • And earlier this year, a 70-year-old woman from Lake Havasu City was sentenced to one year of supervised probation for voting with her deceased father's name in the 2018 midterm elections.

Arizona state law dictates that power of attorney with the deceased does not extend to future elections, in terms of casting ballots for another person.

"It is illegal to use power of attorney as a basis for any person to conduct any procedure or transaction concerning elections, including voter registration, petition circulation or signature, voter registration cancellation, early ballot requests, or voting another person's ballot," according to the state Attorney General's Mark Brnovich's office.

The Republican Brnovich, who's running for Arizona's Senate seat this summer, released a report in April saying there are "serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and raises questions about the 2020 election in Arizona."

Additionally, a probe conducted by Brnovich's office found "instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes."

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