Five Wright County residents have been charged with voting even though they were on probation for felony convictions at the time.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer said the five were among several hundred names of suspected illegal voters sent in April to county attorney offices around the state by Minnesota Majority, an advocacy group that has been pushing for stricter laws on voter identification and fraud.
The five charged Wednesday were among 30 suspected cases that Minnesota Majority sent to Wright County. Three of those prosecuted are accused of illegally voting in the 2008 election, and the other two allegedly voted illegally in 2010.
"These are the first we've actually charged ... that I know of" for specifically voting as a felon on probation, Kryzer said. More common, the prosecutor said, is charging felons on probation with registering to vote.
The five charged, all with felonies, are Douglas E. McLean, 22, of Rockford; Gregory L. Britton, 56, of St. Michael; Alan S. Case, 29, of Montrose; Nicholas M. Gessell, 26, of Big Lake; and Jacqueline J. Nelson, 49, of Clearwater.
Each was charged with being an ineligible voter. Case, Gessell and Nelson also were charged with felonies of fraudulently registering to vote while being felons on probation.
Nelson and Britton were convicted of drug crimes. Gessell and Case were convicted of burglary. McLean was found guilty of making terroristic threats.
Since 2008, according to research by Minnesota Majority, 113 felons in the state have been convicted of either illegally registering to vote, illegally casting a ballot or both. In Hennepin County last fall, 47 people were charged as felons who voted in 2008. They were on a list of 450 names submitted by Minnesota Majority.
"Some county attorneys are taking this more seriously than others," said Dan McGrath, the group's executive director. "We have election laws that have to be followed that ensure a fair outcome in the elections. ... Hopefully, some reforms will come that will improve the system."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482