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DEEPER DIVE: Current Gadsden Elementary School Board member facing additional charges

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the new indictment Wednesday - News 11's Cody Lee continues our coverage

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A former mayor of San Luis and current Gadsden Elementary School Board member accused of illegally returning four mail-in ballots that were not hers is now facing four additional felony charges.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed the charges to be heard at the state’s highest court.

65-year-old Guillermina Fuentes was indicted after being accused of voting on another person’s early ballot in the August 2020 primary election.

The four new charges consist of conspiracy, forgery, and ballot abuse.

The new indictment alleges that Fuentes obtained and voted on another person’s early ballot and forged their signature. No word on how many times she's accused of doing this.

“The difference between ballot harvesting and ballot abuse… is once you abuse it and you're forging someone else… that's like anyone forging a signature. That is a forgery.”

Local activist Gary Snyder thinks the community is not educated on what exactly ballot abuse is.

“You as a voter should only sign it and turn it in yourself a lot of them don't know that education and they've been persuaded by certain elected officials or certain nonprofits that to them it's somebody's system they trust them. They say knock on the door. Can I get your ballot, and they give it to them,” Snyder added.

Yuma County Recorder Robyn Stallworth Pouquette reached out to us - ensuring her office did not deprive someone’s right to vote.

She tells News 11, "there was a delicate balance between that concern and preserving evidentiary value for an investigation,” the county recorder said.

“Election integrity is the priority of my office despite any individual's efforts to subvert the law,” Stallworth-Pouquette reassured.

As for the previous charges dating back to December 2020 - Fuentes and co-defendant Alma Yadira Juarez will be back in court later this month. Both have pleaded not guilty.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at cody.lee@kecytv.com.

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