Two charged with ineligible voting
WORTHINGTON -- Just two days before the statute of limitations ran out, on the very day that the nation was at the polls for midterm elections, the Nobles County Attorney's Office filed charges against two people for voting in the 2008 election while ineligible.
Monica Duarte Duchene, 36, and Ryan Scott Marsh, 30, both of Worthington, were charged in Nobles County District Court of voting at a time when they were ineligible due to a prior felony conviction which had not been discharged.
Duchene was convicted in December 2007 of third-degree arson and sentenced in February 2008 to five years of probation, which is in effect until 2013.
Marsh was convicted in March 2006 of third-degree controlled substance possession and sentenced in May 2006 to five years of probation. He is currently in jail serving a 45-day sentence for probation violation.
Marsh made his first appearance on the ineligible voting charge Tuesday morning, but Duchene has yet to appear on her charge.
According to a release from Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore, the charges arose from an investigation stemming from information received from the Minnesota Majority and a request for an investigation from the Minnesota Republican Party.
A county attorney who receives an election law complaint is required to investigate it and prosecute if probable cause exists for the charges, Moore stated. If a county attorney refuses or intentionally fails to perform that duty, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must forfeit office.
The data provided to the Nobles County Attorney's Office showed eight suspected illegal felon voters in the Nov. 4, 2008 election in Nobles County -- six from Worthington and two from Adrian. The investigation, Moore said, revealed that of the alleged felon voters, one had died since the election, four had their civil rights restored prior to the 2008 election and three voted while ineligible.
The complaints filed against Duchene and Marsh allege they each signed probation agreements where it stated in writing they were ineligible to vote until discharged from probation, but voted nevertheless.
Moore stated charges were not filed in the other case as there was no evidence the voter had been advised he couldn't vote because of a prior felony conviction, so probable cause was insufficient.