Austin men face voting charges

Published 11:15am Friday, January 4, 2013

AUSTIN — One of three Austin men charged for illegal voting in the Nov. 6 election has pleaded not guilty.

Jacob Awuol Barac pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County court to the felony charge of an ineligible voter who knowingly votes.

Brothers William and Braulio Manzano, the others charged for illegally voting, have yet to enter their pleas.

According to the court complaints, all men did the same thing, in which they checked the box on the voter application that indicates one is not a U.S. citizen. However, all men continued to fill out the applications and signed the portion that indicates they are citizens who can vote and that providing false information is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Police spoke with the Manzanos, who both admitted they are not naturalized citizens but have permanent resident status with Minnesota identification cards. Braulio admitted to voting, according to the court complaint, because he didn’t understand the application and didn’t know he had to be a naturalized citizen to vote.

Barac, who is also a permanent resident with a Minnesota ID but not a naturalized citizen, told police he filled out the registration so his roommate could use his ballot to vote and then filled in the ballot himself.

The Manzanos are scheduled for appearances on Jan. 31, while Barac has pretrial set for April 19.