Two Noncitizens Arrested for Illegally Voting in Montana Election
*Note: Story was updated to clarify that the two suspects pled not guilty.
According to the Montana Secretary of State's Office, two noncitizens have been arrested for illegally voting in a Montana election. Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen says the charges stem from a 2021 municipal election in Dodson, Montana.
Here's more from a press release issued late Friday by the SOS office:
According to the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, two non-citizens were arrested and pled not guilty to charges involving election crimes during the November 2021 municipal election. The Dodson mayoral race in Phillips County was decided by only two votes.
According to my sources in state government, the two noncitizens charged with voting illegally are Grace Albia and Jannet Zeta. As of Friday evening, both were still listed on the Dodson Public Schools website as elementary school teachers.
Phillips County Sheriff Jerry Lytle tells me both have now been charged.
Sheriff Lytle: As of right now, I've issued them citations relating to voter fraud. They both pled not guilty at their initial appearance in Justice Court. Their omnibus hearing is scheduled for February 23.
Phillips County Sheriff Jerry Lytle also confirmed that Albia and Zeta are the defendants.
According to the release from the Secretary of State’s Office, the matter has also been referred to the Montana Attorney General's Office to oversee prosecution. "Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, who ran her campaign for Montana Secretary of State with an emphasis on the integrity of elections, applauded law enforcement."
Secretary of State Jacobsen: Thank you to the Attorney General and all law enforcement involved for a job well done. This office is repeatedly reminded that voting violations do not exist because voting crimes are not prosecuted. As such, I will work to ensure that election law violations such as this are finally taken seriously and will continue to work to prevent them from happening in the first place.
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