The woman, 56-year-old Terri Lynn Rote, reportedly cast a ballot during early voting in Polk County and attempted to cast a second one at a satellite voting location, where she was arrested. Rote told police she voted twice because she believed Trump’s claims that the 2016 election would be rigged and thought her first ballot would be changed to a vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to CBS News.
Rote’s plea comes as Trump has focused national attention on voter fraud. He has claimed 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally last year in the 2016 election, but has offered no evidence to support that claim. Multiple investigations, including one by the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, have found that while a handful of people such as Rote do vote illegally, it is not a widespread phenomenon.
Rote’s attorney told the court in January that she believed her client had “cognitive limitations” and a mental health disorder. Sentencing is set for Aug. 15, and Rote’s attorneys are recommending two years probation with community service. Election fraud can be punished in the state by up to five years in prison, according to the AP. Prosecutors agreed to drop a perjury charge against Rote because she pleaded guilty to a felony charge, the AP reported.
Punishments for illegal voting vary from state to state. In February, for example, a Texas mom and noncitizen was sentenced to eight years in prison for voting in U.S. elections and faces likely deportation. She said she didn’t know she was ineligible.
In April, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), secured his first plea from a noncitizen who admitted to voting. The man was put on unsupervised probation for up to three years and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
In North Carolina, by contrast, a prosecutor declined to even bring charges against a woman who admitted she voted for Trump on behalf of her deceased mother in 2016.
Iowa enacted a voter ID law earlier this year, despite concerns it would make it more difficult to vote. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) pushed the bill, even though he said the state’s elections were already “fair” and “clean.”