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Woman suspected of committing voter registration fraud in Madera

Madera County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez says that 12 felony counts alleging fraudulent voter registration have been filed against April Atilano of Monterey County, who worked for an organization called EVP 2018.

The charges stem from a voter registration scheme allegedly operating during the 2018 gubernatorial election.

“In July of 2018 my office received several registration cards that were distributed by April Atilano,” said Martinez. “In August, as my staff began processing the registration cards they noticed many irregularities with the cards and notified me of their findings.”

Election staff, trained to perform signature verification on vote-by-mail ballots, began noticing several discrepancies in the registration cards, including missing or incorrect information and signatures that did not match the voter’s signature on file.

After several of these cards had been brought to the attention of Martinez, the registrar immediately ordered that all cards associated with Atilano be quarantined and that the affected voters be contacted to confirm intent.

Many of the voters associated with the suspicious cards informed election officials that they had not attempted to re-register to vote and did not want to change their party affiliation as the cards had indicated.

“We collected all of the relevant information including copies of what we determined were fraudulent cards as well as copies of the voter’s genuine registration cards,” explained Martinez. “We then forwarded all of the information to the Secretary of State and the Madera County District Attorney for investigation.”

“Any time there is an allegation of voter fraud or an attempt to game the foundation of our democracy, we take it very seriously,” said Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno. “Our investigation unit, after reviewing the information from our local registrar and the Secretary of State, conducted a criminal investigation.”

A copy of the criminal complaint filed in Madera County Superior Court charges April Atilano with 12 felony counts of violating Section 18101 of the California Election Code. The complaint alleges that the defendant unlawfully, knowingly, and willfully completed or caused and procured the completion of, in whole or in part, an affidavit of registration and voter registration card, with the intent to cause the registration or reregistration as a voter of a fictitious person or of any person who has not requested registration or reregistration as a voter.

“We have filed 12 felony counts against Ms. Atilano and we intend to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”

Atilano has been ordered to appear in court on the charges in November. If found guilty she faces up to 10 years and four months in jail.

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