Alaska in Brief

Two years after contentious 2020 vote, Alaska finds only three voter fraud cases

By: - November 24, 2022 5:00 am
"I voted" stickers are seen on display at a polling station in Juneau's Mendenhall Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

“I voted” stickers are seen on display at a polling station in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

A woman accused of voting illegally in both Alaska and Florida during the 2020 elections will face charges in a Florida court on Dec. 8, according to online court records.

When Cheryl-Ann Leslie is arraigned on felony counts of casting more than one ballot, she will become just the second person charged with voter fraud related to Alaska’s 2020 election.

Despite claims by some Alaskans that fraudulent voting changed the state’s election results two years ago, no evidence of fraud on that scale has been uncovered by investigators.

After the 2020 election, Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, was among those who collected information about possible fraudulent votes and forwarded it to state investigators.

In January 2022, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said three cases of possible voter fraud were being investigated by state troopers. 

The Florida case was the result of a special group of Florida investigators assigned specifically to election-related crimes. Patty Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Law, said the Alaska Division of Elections assisted Florida’s investigation and referred the issue to law enforcement here. 

It wasn’t clear whether the case was one of the three mentioned by Dunleavy. The governor’s office referred a question to the Department of Law and the Department of Public Safety.

According to a public records request with the Alaska Court System, only two voter misconduct cases have been filed since 2020.

One remains sealed by a judge’s order, making details of the case impossible to determine. The other case involves a Copper Center man who signed absentee ballots with an anti-gay epithet. 

Terry Anthony Bell was initially charged with five felonies but pleaded guilty to just one misdemeanor count of voter misconduct as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Sullivan said she could not say whether any other cases will be filed by prosecutors.

“Other than what’s public record, we cannot confirm the existence of active criminal investigations until criminal charges have been brought forward,” she said.

Before the 2020 election, prosecutors accused Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, her chief of staff, and the chief of staff’s son of voter misconduct related to elections in 2018 and 2014. 

In part because of courtroom closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, the case against LeDoux and the two others has not gone to trial. 

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 12.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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