ACRU

Somali Immigrants Charged with Illegal Double Voting in Minnesota

This item by ACRU Policy Board Member J. Christian Adams was posted on August 28, 2013 on the Election Law Center website.

The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Faribault Daily News:

About 50 men and women packed a Rice County courtroom Tuesday afternoon as two Somali women pleaded not guilty to charges of voter fraud stemming from the general election last November.

Farhiya Abdi Dool, 38, and Amina A Hassan, 31, each face one felony charge of unlawful voting for voting once by absentee ballot and once at a polling place during the 2012 general election. Each woman faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the offense.

The women, both naturalized U.S. citizens, were charged June 21.

With Minneapolis-based defense attorney Julie Nelson at their side, Dool and Hassan each entered a plea of not guilty on Tuesday afternoon. As was the case with their first court appearances, the women were backed by family members, friends, neighbors and advocates all listening closely to the proceedings.

Supporters of the women say that their actions were an honest mistake that should not be punished with a felony charge. Nelson took the defense a step further during an interview after the hearing.

“I find it offensive that these women have been criminally charged,” Nelson said. “These women came to this country, they are naturalized citizens, and they wanted to vote.”

But will U.S. Attorney Todd Jones act? Double voting in a federal election is a federal crime. So far, the U.S. Justice Department has been slack in enforcing this federal law which protects federal (as opposed to state) interests. Meloweese Richardson in Ohio still has not been charged with double voting. Neither has Wendy Rosen in Maryland. There are more. Why isn’t Eric Holder’s Justice Department enforcing federal laws against double voting? Is it because they voted for the right candidates? Might it have something else to do with the perpetrators? These days, it could be anything.