Charged ineligible voters say they are not guilty

Published 10:23 am Friday, February 1, 2013

AUSTIN — Three men suspected of voting illegally on Nov. 6 all say they are not guilty.

William and Braulio Manzano of Austin are brothers; each pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County District Court to charges as ineligible voters who knowingly voted.

Jacob Awuol Barac, who faces the same charge, previously pleaded not guilty, as well. One of three men charged for illegal voting in the Nov. 6 election has pleaded not guilty.

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According to the court complaints, all men did the same thing, in which each 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.