Politics

Detroit company to face multiple voter fraud charges involving acquiring ballots for incapacitated individuals

A woman whose company handles legal guardianships faces multiple charges of forgery and voter fraud after allegedly attempting to obtain at least 14 absentee ballots — and possibly as many as 26 — for Michigan residents deemed incapacitated.

Nancy Juanita Williams, 55, of Detroit, is charged in five jurisdictions in Wayne and Oakland counties, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a Monday news release. Investigators determined Williams “developed and implemented a plan to obtain and control absentee ballots for legally incapacitated persons under her care by fraudulently submitting 26 absentee ballot applications to nine identified city and township clerks, seeking to have absentee ballots for those individuals mailed directly to her,” the release said.

State election officials became concerned and contacted the Michigan State Police last October after several local election officials advised them about absentee ballot applications signed with an “X” and requesting that ballots be sent to Guardian & Associates, an Oak Park business, according to the news release.

“She also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person — all without knowledge, consent or understanding of the person under her care.” Williams denied the allegations and said she has no knowledge of the charges. No fraudulent ballots were ever cast or counted, said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for Nessel.

Charges Williams faces appear to involve 14 separate cases of alleged forgery involving absentee ballot applications. Andrea Bradley, an Oak Park attorney representing Williams, said Williams never forged anyone’s name and she looks forward to vigorously defending against the charges in court. “Ms. Williams has never acted outside of her scope as a guardian and at all times has adhered to election laws,” Bradley said.

“Our election system is secure,” and the charges “demonstrate that in the rare circumstances when fraud occurs, we catch it and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Benson said. “These charges also send a clear message to those who promote deceitful claims about widespread fraud: the current protocols we have in place work to protect and ensure the integrity of our elections. It’s time to share that truth and stop spreading lies to the contrary.”

In another case detailed Monday, a Macomb County nursing home employee was accused of fraudulently attempting to obtain absentee ballots for residents of the home where she worked. In this case, the fraud was also detected before any ballots were cast, Mukomel said [Detroit Free Press].

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FREEP.COM

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