A woman in Colorado has been hit with felony charges after she was caught voting for her dead father after he had passed away. Toni Lee Newbill received two felony forgery charges against her by prosecutors in October after they caught her voting for her father in the 2013 general election and once again in the 2016 Republican primaries. Her father, Ralph Nanninga, died in 2012 at the age of 86.
According to her lawyers, Newbill, a certified public accountant, claims she did not intend to commit a crime. Attorney Chris Samuelson told CBS4 that after continuously receiving ballots for her father and having no success in getting him off the voter rolls, she decided just to vote for him.
“It certainly wasn’t the best decision on her part but it was an act of outright frustration,” Samuelson said. “She received numerous ballots. She shredded some, she threw some away, she wrote on envelopes and mailed them back.”
“She did not intend to commit a crime, she did not intend to cast a ballot, she was just trying to get their attention,” he continued.
While it’s unclear whether or not Newbill completed the form, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder did send a form to her to have her father’s name removed from the voter rolls.
Denver Elections director Amber McReynolds told CBS4 that there are many safeguards that work to make sure such fraud doesn’t happen, and what they miss is on such a small scale it would not have an effect on the election.
“In terms of the number of votes being cast over all these years, it is a small number comparatively, but to us it’s significant because we strive for perfection,” McReynolds said.
Toni Lee Newbill is scheduled to appear in court in El Paso County later this month.
This is not the only case of dead voters that Colorado has seen thus far. As reported in September, CBS4 uncovered multiple cases of dead voters casting ballots years after their death.