In a jury trial held Monday, a Boone County woman was found not guilty of falsely impersonating a voter during the 2020 Primary election.
Linda O. Smith was accused of falsely impersonating a voter, a Class D felony, for allegedly voting twice during the 2020 Primary.
According to the timeline presented during Monday’s jury trial, Smith requested an absentee ballot, filled it out and mailed it back to the clerk’s office. She then voted in person on election day in June 2020, appearing that she attempted to vote twice.
When Smith voted at her precinct in person on election day, she signed a voter oath but did not sign a second document that the state requires of voters who request to vote absentee but cast ballots in person instead.
By voting in person, that meant when her absentee ballot was scanned by the clerk’s office, it was flagged because Smith had already voted.
During the jury trial, it was noted that Smith selected “uncommitted” on the ballot she submitted in person, meaning neither her absentee vote nor her in-person vote counted toward any 2020 Primary races.
Smith’s absentee ballot was submitted into evidence. On it, she wrote a note voicing her opinion about her choices.
Smith requested a Democrat ballot for the 2020 Primary election. She made no selection for president but instead wrote, “Democrats have lost their mind. They are full of hate and just want to ruin our country. Democrats should be ashamed that they are backing an old man with dementia. It looks stupid to most people and so does the ‘Dim-bag’ Party. Not one Dem worth voting for. Thanks.”
Deputy attorneys general noted Smith made two selections in other races on her absentee ballot as well. If her absentee ballot had not been flagged, it would have been discarded due to stray marks and the use of purple ink rather than a blue or black pen.
The state called four witnesses, including a deputy clerk, a precinct officer, an investigator from the Attorney General’s office, and an officer from the State Board of Elections.
Smith also took the stand during the jury trial Monday. The 2020 election was the first time Smith was voting absentee, and she said she was worried if she didn’t cast a vote that she would be inelligible to vote in the 2020 General Election.
She also said she thought the document she received in the mail was to verify who she was, not an official ballot.
Typically, when an absentee voter chooses to instead cast a vote in person, they bring the mail-in ballot with them to the polling station. But, Smith had already mailed the document without realizing it was the ballot, and she told the poll worker she did not receive one.
Absentee ballots say “official ballot” at the top of the page. State attorneys pointed out Smith, now retired, was an employee of the U.S. Department of Treasury for 16 years and would be capable of spotting an official document. They argued that because Smith signed and mailed an absentee ballot and voted in person, she attempted to vote twice.
Smith’s defense team argued the process of absentee voting during the 2020 election was confusing, and the precinct did not follow the proper procedure for accepting her vote. They also argued Smith did not intentionally vote twice. Her team said that the law does not clearly define the parameters for a vote or voter, casting doubt on the state’s case.
After a 15-minute deliberation, the jury found Smith not guilty, and she was dismissed.
Correction: An earlier version of this story described the prosecutors as commonwealth’s attorneys. They are deputy attorneys general.