86-year-old voted twice after memory failed, charged with felony

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Margaret Schneider, 86, of St. Peter, readily admits that she forgets things, the Mankato Free Press reports. She has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia is among her symptoms.

She also admits that her memory failed and she voted twice in the primary election last year, first by absentee ballot on July 13, and then again at a polling place for a primary election Aug. 14, the Free Press reports. For the crime, Schneider has been charged with a felony.

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

Nicollet County attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer said she couldn't comment specifically on the case. But she noted that she is required by law to investigate voter fraud when notified of it, and to prosecute if there is probable cause. Bills pending in the Minnesota Legislature would tweak the law to give prosecutors more discretion to drop charges in such cases.

Schneider's daughter said the St. Peter police detective who came to talk to her mother was apologetic, and he noted that investigators had dug through statutes looking for some loophole to avoid charging her.

“I think it’s kind of silly," Schneider told the Free Press. "There are a lot worse things to worry about out there. That’s just my opinion.”

Allegations of voter fraud have led states to pursue a variety of new statutes. A ballot measure in Minnesota that would have required voters to bring a photo ID to the polls failed.

Is voter fraud a real problem? That's a topic of much debate. U.S. News recently collected some top arguments on both sides of it.

Voter fraud is rare, but real, ABC News reported. A Republican-aligned firm this week admitted that it committed voter fraud, Salon reported. Fraud by Democrats has become fodder for the GOP in Virginia.

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