EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An election judge from southern Illinois was charged Friday with voter fraud for allegedly sending in an absentee ballot in her late husband's name.
Audrey Cook, 88, of Alton, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she filled out the ballot for her husband after he died in September because she knew he would want Donald Trump to be president. Cook said she and her husband, Vic, applied for absentee ballots this past summer and she received them days after he died.
"I was just so distraught when this came and I just voted because I knew he wanted to live so badly to see Trump straighten out this stinking mess," she said tearfully.
Cook is charged with two felony election-fraud counts.
Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons told the Belleville News-Democrat that Cook will be removed as an election judge.
Gibbons said absentee ballots say submitting a ballot on behalf of someone else constitutes perjury. The county clerk's office carefully examines every absentee ballot at multiple levels, including checking the names against the death records, he said. The ballot was never even opened because a clerk found it had been submitted in the name of a deceased person, Gibbons said.
The prosecutor's office said Cook will be allowed to turn herself in. A judge has set bond at $20,000. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Cook said she doesn't yet have an attorney.
Election judges must declare party affiliation, and both Democrats and Republicans process the ballots together in the presence of any authorized poll watchers from campaigns, Madison County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said.