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By Sarah May on
 October 11, 2022

Democrat former mayor faces sentencing in AZ ballot harvesting case

After having pleaded guilty earlier this year to ballot abuse, Guillermina Fuentes, Democrat former mayor of San Luis, Arizona, is set to be sentenced next week, and prosecutors in the case are seeking jail time for the offense, as Fox News reports.

Back in June, Fuentes, 66, admitted to gathering four early voting ballots during the 2020 election cycle and delivering them to another woman, who deposited them at a polling place, conduct that ultimately resulted in a guilty plea to one count of ballot abuse.

As Breitbart noted over the summer, "According to prosecutors, Fuentes used her status as a powerful local Democrat operative to run a ballot harvesting scheme that collected ballots from voters in Arizona's August 2020 primary election."

"Prosecutors accused Fuentes of collecting and filling out ballots from voters as part of the scheme. In some cases, prosecutors allege that Fuentes paid voters to let her collect their ballots," Breitbart further added.

Though the other woman implicated in the offenses, Alma Juarez, pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of probation only, prosecutors are now seeking jail time for her and for Fuentes, despite vehement counterarguments from their attorneys.

As KTAR News in Phoenix notes, Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson is requesting a year of incarceration for Fuentes, citing election security as a top governmental priority as well as a recently-upheld state law banning ballot harvesting.

"The question is, why does [Fuentes] feel the need to exert pressure over people in her community and control the flow of their ballot to the ballot box. That's the issue of public integrity here," Lawson argued.

According to Fox News, numerous character witnesses for Fuentes appeared in court on Thursday to contend that jail time in this case is unnecessary and counterproductive for the well-known former mayor and school board member.

Defense expert Sherri Castillo, who conducted interviews with Fuentes and community members, explained to the court her belief that Fuentes' local volunteer work and overall engagement were such that absence due to incarceration would be a "detriment" to area residents, but whether the judge will ultimately agree, only time will tell.

Written By:
Sarah May

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