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Former San Luis mayor pleads guilty to ballot abuse

Guillermina Fuentes (2).png
Arizona Attorney General's Office
Guillermina Fuentes

A former San Luis mayor will be sentenced later this month on one federal count of ballot abuse.

Bajo El Sol reports Guillermina Fuentes pleaded guilty to the charge Thursday.

A grand jury indicted Fuentes in December after a candidate saw her and her co-defendant collecting ballots outside the San Luis cultural center on the day of the 2020 primary.

He turned over a videotape of the women to the Yuma County Sheriff, and an investigation began.

Republicans have seized on the case, saying it’s an indication of widespread fraud across the state.

However, the Associated Press filed a public records request on the case and found fewer than a dozen ballots linked to Fuentes.

That’s not nearly enough to make a difference in anything but the tightest races.

Collecting ballots was a common tactic used by both political parties before Arizona passed a law banning it in 2016.

Ballot harvesting is now a felony that carries a possible sentence of up to two years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

Fuentes will find out how long she’ll serve, and how much she’ll pay, on June 30.

Lisa Sturgis’ return to KAWC brings her journalistic career full circle. Uncle Bob Hardy gave Lisa her first exposures to reporting back in the 1980s. She went on to spend more than three decades in TV news before making the decision to come home to NPR.