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A Whitefish man was arraigned on two voter fraud charges Thursday in federal court in Missoula that allege he voted with another person’s ballot in the 2020 election.
Donald Samuel Hill, 52, pleaded not guilty to two counts – false information in voting and fraudulent voting. Each carry penalties of up to five years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines, to be followed by a year of supervised release if he is convicted and sentenced.
According to federal court records, Hill was indicted on April 27 by prosecutors in the U.S. District Court of Montana. A summons was executed May 16, and Hill was arraigned in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto in Missoula on Thursday.
The grand jury indictment says that on Oct. 10, 2020, Hill completed and signed the ballot of an unnamed person and submitted it to the Flathead County Elections Office for the 2020 General Election.
The indictment says Hill “knowingly and willfully deprived, defrauded, and attempted to deprive and defraud the residents of the State of Montana of a fair and impartially conducted election process” by submitting a fraudulent ballot. An unredacted indictment remained under seal on Thursday afternoon.
“Our voting laws are in place to protect the right of every citizen to cast their ballot and to have that ballot counted,” U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said in a statement. “We are committed to enforcing those laws to ensure free and fair elections and will seek to hold accountable persons who attempt to violate them.”
Hill was released with bond conditions after the hearing and is due back in court May 31 for a pretrial conference.
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