Two California men have been charged with dozens of felony crimes after authorities say they submitted thousands of fraudulent voter registration applications on behalf of Los Angeles-area homeless people.
What are the details?
Authorities claim that Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro, 53, and his co-defendant, Marcos Raul Arevalo, 34, conspired to fraudulently obtain mail-in ballots for fake voters.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Montenegro allegedly submitted 8,000 fraudulent voter registration applications between July and October, falsifying names, addresses, and signatures — all under penalty of perjury, of course — in the process.
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The conspiracy charge alleges that Montenegro submitted and filed signed nomination papers containing 41 signatures and addresses to the city clerk this summer and that just 18 of the names, addresses and signatures on the nomination papers were validated by the Los Angeles County Registrar- Recorder's Office.
The conspiracy charge also alleges that Montenegro was subsequently issued write-in candidate nomination papers and that he "submitted and filed signed write-in candidate nomination papers containing 32 signatures and addresses for fictitious, non-existent or deceased person'' with the city clerk's office. It further alleges that he and co-defendant Marcos Raul Arevalo "and other unknown co-conspirators'' used three post office boxes in Hawthorne as well as Montenegro's home address "as mailing addresses for over 8,000 voter registration applications for fictitious, non-existent or deceased persons, that were submitted for processing to the Los Angeles County Registrar- Recorder's Office and the California Secretary of State.''
Fortunately, officials quickly uncovered the scheme, and no illegal votes were cast.
Officially, Montenegro has been charged with 32 felony crimes: 18 felony counts of voter fraud, 11 felony counts of procuring a false or forged instrument, two felony counts of perjury, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. He was also charged with nine additional misdemeanors.
Meanwhile, Arevalo has been charged with eight counts of voter fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud, and four counts of procuring and offering a false or forged instrument, along with four misdemeanors.
If convicted on all charges, Montenegro faces more than 15 years in prison, and Arevalo faces more than seven years in prison.
What about voter fraud?
President Donald Trump, his campaign, and his supporters have alleged that voter fraud stained the 2020 election on a wide-scale, but none of their legal challenges have proved fruitful thus far. Judges have outright rejected the claims of voter fraud.
And in cases like this where law enforcement uncover schemes to commit fraud, officials almost always catch the perpetrators before they have the opportunity to actually cast fraudulent ballots.
Indeed, even the federal government has disputed Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud.
"The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result," the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees said in a joint statement last week.
The agencies clarified, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."
Trump responded to the statement by firing Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, on Tuesday.