Two women faced sentencing Thursday in southern Arizona for illegally collecting four early ballots during the 2020 primary election.
Authorities say Guillermina Fuentes and Alma Juarez participated in “ballot harvesting.” That’s a practice once used by both political parties to boost turnout but was made illegal by a 2016 state law that barred anyone but a family member or caregiver from returning early ballots for another person. It’s the only case filed so far by the state attorney general under the law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year.
Authorities say Fuentes, a former San Luis mayor and current school board member, ran a sophisticated operation using her status in Democratic politics in the Arizona border city to persuade voters to let her gather and, in some cases, fill out their ballots. But the crime she admitted in court last month does not involve filling out ballots or any broader efforts.