A Hennepin County resident was charged Wednesday with purposely voting twice in the 2017 general election and later explaining that she did so because she liked a candidate who was seeking re-election to the City Council in Minneapolis, where she did not live at the time.
Zameahia J. Ismail, 21, of St. Louis Park, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with a felony and ordered to appear in court on March 20. Court records do not list an attorney for her. A message was left with Ismail seeking a response to the charge.
According to the criminal complaint:
Ismail registered on Oct. 24, 2017, in the Sixth Ward of Minneapolis and voted there the same day. She repeated the deed on Election Day, Nov. 7, in St. Louis Park.
In an interview with an investigator many months later, Ismail said an acquaintance told her to come to Minneapolis and vote for Council Member Abdi Warsame at a polling place near her school, Minneapolis Community and Technical College. When she said she didn’t have the proper identification, she was assured it was fine.
Ismail arrived at the polling place with a second acquaintance, who also was directed to vote for Warsame, the charging document read.
Ismail said she liked Warsame “because he was going to help the Somalian community,” the complaint read.
Someone vouched for Ismail as being at the correct polling place, and she cast her Minneapolis ballot, then voted in St. Louis Park two weeks later.
An investigator took a statement from the person who vouched for Ismail. He acknowledged vouching for her despite not knowing where she lived.
He also told the investigator that someone had been organizing students on the MCTC campus to vote.
The County Attorney’s Office was checking whether the acquaintance who vouched for Ismail might be subject to prosecution or whether others were directed to double vote under similar circumstances.
Warsame won re-election by 239 votes out of 7,234 cast. A message was left with him seeking comment.