Giving lie to the claim that there was no meddling in the election or messing with ballots whatsoever in 2020, AZ Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced back in early June of 2022 that two Democrat operatives were being sentenced for their involvement in a ballot harvesting scheme, with ballot harvesting being a class 6 felony in Arizona, saying:
Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that Guillermina Fuentes of San Luis pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of Ballot Abuse, a Class 6 Felony, for her role in an August 2020 Primary Election “ballot harvesting” scheme where early ballots from other voters were collected and deposited into a ballot box on primary Election Day.
In December 2020, Fuentes and Alma Juarez, also of San Luis, were both indicted for 1 count each of Ballot Abuse, also known as “ballot harvesting.” In March 2022, Juarez entered a guilty plea to Ballot Abuse.
Arizona law only provides for a family member, household member, or caregiver of the voter to collect voted or unvoted early ballots from another person. Under Arizona law ballot harvesting is a class 6 felony.
Fuentes admitted that she “knowingly collect[ed] ballots from another person, and those early ballots belonged to individuals for whom I am not a family member, household member, or caregiver.” Fuentes further admitted that the early ballots were later provided to Alma Juarez.
Fuentes is scheduled to be back in court for sentencing on June 30, 2022.
Adding more details about what exactly it was that Fuentes did during 2020, the AP reported that “An Arizona woman indicted in 2020 on accusations of illegally collecting ballots apparently ran a sophisticated operation using her status as a well-known Democratic operative in the border city of San Luis to persuade voters to let her gather and in some cases fill out their ballots“.
The AP also noted that the scale of what Fuentes did was likely minimal, as under a dozen ballots were linked to her, which could only make a difference in exceptional races, mainly at the local level.
However, the case was notable in that it was the first time the Arizona’s AG office brought charges against someone under the 2016 law.
And Fuentes has since been sentenced for her role in the ballot harvesting scheme, with ballot harvesting having been made illegal by a 2016 Arizona law.
That sentencing came just a few days ago and Fuentes was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation for her involvement in the scheme.
The judge in the case took issue with her saying that she is “not a criminal,” saying:
“Well, you are a criminal. You committed a criminal offense. I don’t think you recognize that as a criminal offense. That’s the problem that I have.”
He added that “Many of the things that were put forward as mitigating factors, I think they’re also aggravating factors. You have been a leader in the San Luis community for a long time. People look up to you, people respect you, and they look to what you do.”