An undercover video at the polls helped investigators disrupt a local ballot harvesting operation run by a Democratic operative in Arizona, in a scheme that prosecutors have described as a “modern day political machine seeking to influence the outcome” of a 2020 municipal election.
Guillermina Fuentes, a former mayor of San Luis, and her associate Alma Juarez, earlier this year both pleaded guilty to one count of ballot abuse. Fuentes admitted to illegally collecting early ballots from four persons who were not her family members during a Aug. 4, 2020, primary election in the border town of San Luis.
Fuentes, of Yuma County, is the owner of a local construction business, a board member of the Gadsden Elementary School District, former mayor of San Luis, Arizona, and a Democratic precinct committee person.
Investigators noted that Fuentes had apparently used her “powerful” position in the community to get locals to hand over their ballots to her or others for them to drop off at the ballot box, according to records of the Arizona attorney general office obtained by The Epoch Times through a public records request.
The Arizona attorney general office’s investigation of Fuentes began after it received a notice from the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office of a potential case of voter fraud.
During primary election day in 2020, Gary Snyder, then a write-in candidate for City of San Luis council member, went undercover to record a video that seems to show Fuentes to be collecting and filling out ballots beside a polling station, according to a special investigation report dated Oct. 27, 2020, and prepared by Agent William Knuth of the Arizona attorney general’s office.
David Lara, former vice chairman of the Yuma County GOP, told The Epoch Times that he collaborated with Synder and passed the video evidence on to the Yuma County Sheriff’s office for investigation. The Sheriff’s office worked with the Arizona attorney general’s office in a joint investigation.
By Gary Bai