The official, a trustee of Porter township in Ohio, not only used his own identity to vote for Trump but forged his deceased father’s signature on an absentee ballot. His alibi? He was allegedly “sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly.” So being sleep-deprived according to this official made it okay to commit voter fraud but because he got caught, he’s “not going to run away from it.”
Identified as Edward Snodgrass, the official told NBC News the incident wasn’t “just Trump voter fraud.” Snodgrass claimed that he was “simply trying to execute a dying man’s wishes.”
According to an obituary published in The Columbus Dispatch, Snodgrass’ father, Hiram Edward Snodgrass, died on Oct. 5, 2020 at the age of 78. His ballot was mailed out a day later to Snodgrass’s residence on Oct. 6.
Snodgrass told NBC News that he had been taking care of his father through his father’s advancing Parkinson’s disease and had the power of attorney to sign for him for some time. Snodgrass was aware that his father had requested an absentee ballot before his death and said he had signed it among “a pile of other paperwork.”
According to court records obtained by NBC News, Snodgrass’ father’s absentee ballot arrived at the local board of elections on Oct. 15, or 10 days after he died. Snodgrass allegedly cast his own ballot eight days later.
It was only when a Delaware County election worker questioned the signature on his father’s ballot that Snodgrass’ actions were called out. A special prosecutor was assigned to the case; he noted this was a first in his career.
“I’ve been doing this since the 1980s, and this is the first one I’ve seen like this,” Morrow County Assistant Prosecutor David Homer told NBC News. He told the outlet that Snodgrass is expected to plead guilty to a charge of falsification on July 9 as part of a plea agreement to receive three days in jail and a $500 fine.
Had Snodgrass not agreed to the plea, he would have been charged with illegal voting, a fourth-degree felony that would carry a sentence of six months or more alongside a $5,000 fine.
The incident follows a current debate in Congress on passing the For the People Act, a bill that aims to not only set up automatic voter registration but expand early voting, ensure more transparency in political donations, and limit partisan drawing of congressional districts. Republicans are blocking the legislation under the guise that it will increase electoral fraud; however, most of their examples of fraud include themselves.
“In fact, what is typical about this crime is that it is so at odds with the typical claims of voter fraud that we hear from Donald Trump and other (usually Republican) politicians,” Christopher Devine, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton, told NBC News.
“The fact is, very few people commit voter fraud and when they do it usually looks like this: one person casting an additional vote through a strange series of circumstances that gave him an opportunity he shouldn’t have taken. And he got caught,” he added.
As GOP officials continue their search for people who have allegedly committed the voter fraud they are afraid of, it’ll be no surprise to see more Republicans make headlines.