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Sentencing delayed in Arizona election ballot harvesting case

Ryan Heinsius

Sentencing has been delayed for two southern Arizona women accused of illegally collecting four early ballots during the 2020 primary election.

Authorities say Guillermina Fuentes and Alma Juarez participated in “ballot harvesting" in the border community of San Luis.

Democratic and Republican parties both collected ballots this way before Arizona banned the practice in 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban last year. Now only family members or caregivers can return a ballot for another person.

Fuentes is a former San Luis mayor and current school board member. Authorities say she used her influence in Democratic politics to persuade voters to let her break the law.

Prosecutors are seeking a one-year prison sentence for Fuentes. If probation is instead imposed, prosecutors said the judge should enforce a provision of Fuentes’ plea deal that bars her from holding public office while on probation.

Fuentes and Alma Juarez were scheduled to be sentenced Thursday on a ballot abuse conviction in Yuma, but the court said the hearing had been postponed until Sept. 1.