Felon allegedly votes in A.L.

Published 9:51 am Friday, January 14, 2011

A 22-year-old Albert Lea man was charged in Freeborn County District Court on Wednesday with knowingly voting in the Nov. 2 general election even though he had a felony conviction that made him ineligible to do so.

The man, Brohdy Hillis Avery, faces one felony charge termed “ineligible voter knowingly voting.”

Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said this is the first time anyone has ever been charged with this offense in Freeborn County since he’s been in office. The investigation started out of an internal concern within Freeborn County government.

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According to court documents, Avery was convicted of one felony charge of fifth-degree drug possession in July of 2010. He is currently on supervised probation through March 2, 2014.

Court documents state Avery allegedly signed probation agreements with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, most recently in September 2010, that included a portion stating he understood that any person convicted of a felony cannot vote, serve on a jury or hold a public office until his civil rights are restored.

Avery also reportedly signed a Minnesota voter registration application Nov. 2, 2010, that also asks voters to certify that they are eligible to vote. It contained an advisory that felons cannot vote.

According to court documents, an Albert Lea police lieutenant interviewed Avery Dec. 16, during which time Avery said he did not recall whether his probation agent had read aloud his probation agreement before he signed it.

Avery acknowledged that he had signed the agreement and the voter registration and that he should have read the documents. He allegedly voted at the Albert Lea City Hall polling place.

He told the lieutenant that he did not have a desire to vote in the November election, but his mother encouraged him to do so. He later reportedly cashed in his “I Voted” sticker at Diamond Jo Casino for a free meal.

Nelson said if Avery is found guilty of this charge, he would receive a presumptive probationary sentence of a year and a day because of his criminal history score. Someone with a higher criminal history score who committed the same offense could receive stiffer penalties.