NEWTON, N.C. (WBTV) — A North Carolina woman says she voted in her mother’s place in the November 2016 presidential election to honor her last request.
According to the NC District Attorney’s Office, the 67-year-old woman said her 89-year-old mother had intended to vote by absentee ballot, but had not yet done so when she unexpectedly died of a stroke on Oct. 26, 2016.
“The lady erroneously believed that she could cast her mother’s vote and did so on Nov. 3, 2016, at an early voting location, totally lacking any fraudulent intent and not realizing that it was unlawful due to the Power of Attorney,” the district attorney wrote in a press release Wednesday. “This vote was cast eight days after her mother’s death and only four days after her funeral.”
Officials say the woman “has never been in trouble a day in her life other than a couple of minor traffic tickets.”
The press release states when contacted by a North Carolina State Board of Elections investigator, the woman was “totally honest and cooperative.” She sent an email to the board explaining the vote.
My mother [name redacted] at 89 was a tremendous Donald Trump fan. She donated to his campaign, watched all his debates and news involving his campaign on Fox news. She was so excited about voting for him and at every opportunity told everyone else to vote for him to save our country. My mother had AFIB which would cause her heart rate and blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels with the risk of stroke. I had printed out a State Absentee Ballot Request Form on Saturday, October 22, 2016 and told her to fill it out and mail it in so that she could vote in the event she was unable to go and cast her vote. She said, ‘ok and if anything happens you have my power of attorney and you be sure to vote for Donald Trump for me.” The following day she had a massive stroke and passed away on October 26, 2016.
This was devastating to me because my dad, brother and sister were deceased and I was the only one left in my family. As election day approached all I could hear were her words ‘if anything happens you have my power of attorney and you be sure to vote for Donald Trump for me?’ On November 3rd I took a copy of the power of attorney, which no one asked for, and honored her request and voted on her behalf. It was the last thing I could do for her and I felt excited to do that for her.
My mother was alive during the absentee period and if she had received the ballot in time she would have been able to vote. Please understand that my actions were in no way intended to be fraudulent but were done during my grief and an effort to honor my mother’s last request and I knew that one vote from this 89-year-old lady would not affect the outcome of the election anyway.
The district attorney’s office, which has prosecutorial discretion done on a case-by-case basis, declined to prosecute the woman.
The district attorney’s office says the woman “made a mistake out of sheer ignorance without any intent to defraud or commit a crime. She was grieving the loss of her mother and believed that the Power of Attorney allowed her to cast this vote.”