Illegal voters fined, sentenced

Hayden couple voted illegally in 2009 Cd'A city election

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COEUR d'ALENE - A Hayden couple was each fined $200 and sentenced to three months of probation for illegally voting in the Nov. 3, 2009, Coeur d'Alene general election.

Ronald Prior and Susan Harris both entered Alford pleas on July 15 after each was charged with one count of illegally registering to vote.

An Alford guilty plea means the defendant doesn't admit guilt but admits there is enough evidence for a conviction. Both judgments were withheld, according to Kootenai County 1st District Court records, which allows for the conviction to be dismissed upon satisfactory completion of probation.

Trial was scheduled to begin last week.

The 2009 general election was a heavily litigated case between Seat 2 City Councilman Mike Kennedy, and Jim Brannon, who had run against the incumbent.

Kennedy retained his seat, although the vote difference was trimmed from five to three during a week-long trial that charged illegal votes had been cast.

Earlier this year, Kootenai County resident Nancy White was fined $200 and put on three months unsupervised probation for illegally voting as well.

Along with White, Harris, 63 at the time of the charge and Prior, 66, were declared illegal voters by the judge during the election challenge trial. They listed their commercial property at 4915 N. Industrial Way (since re-addressed as 4931 N. Manufacturing Way) in the Coeur d'Alene Industrial Park as their residence when they voted.

The couple has lived in Hayden for about 20 years, and told investigators leading up to the election challenge that they used their commercial address because they owned it.

The couple could not recall for whom they voted, and their votes could not be tossed out.

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