The former Ohio poll worker who admitted flat-out to voting twice for President Barack Obama was released from prison early last week after new disclosures about her mental health.
Melowese Richardson told a news crew very matter-of-factly last year that she filled out two ballots in 2012 in order to make sure her vote for Obama was recorded. She pleaded no contest to voter fraud charges and was sentenced to five years in prison. According to local media reports, the reason for Richardson's release less than a year into her sentence is her recently disclosed bipolar disorder.
Melowese Richardson was released from prison early after being convicted of voter fraud. (Image source: WCPO-TV)
"We believe she plead no contest because she was uncomfortable revealing her mental health issues and this would avoid a trial," Richardson's attorney David Singleton told TheBlaze.
Singleton, the executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, said his organization decided to file an appeal on Richardson's behalf.
Singleton said the five-year prison sentence caught Richardson by surprise, and he speculated that the national attention her case received may have added to the severity of the punishment. As his organization began looking into filing an appeal, he said, Richardson's bipolar disorder stood out as grounds for a second look.
"It took some time, but I finally convinced Melowese to allow her mental health records to be released to the court," Singleton said.
After reviewing the records, the judge decided to give Richardson five years of probation instead.
Prior to her conviction, Richardson had been a poll worker since 1998. Under state law, she will be eligible to vote again in the future.
"In Ohio, felons can vote once their sentence is served, and she's not barred from working the polls, but I don't believe she will be a poll worker again," Singleton said.
Richardson initially told the media last year that she did not intentionally commit voter fraud, she just wanted to be sure her vote would count. She had also said she intended to fight the charges, "for Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama's right to sit as president of the United States."
(H/T: GOP Daily Dose)
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