The second of two women charged with voting while ineligible was sentenced in Carlton County Court last Wednesday.
Anna Nichole Nelson, 28, of Aurora, Minn., pleaded guilty and received one year of local confinement on the felony charge, which was downgraded to a gross misdemeanor as part of the plea agreement. Judge Robert Macaulay stayed the sentence for two years. Nelson, who was also convicted of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance in St. Louis County Court in May 2012, was already on probation. As part of last Wednesday's sentencing, Macaulay ordered that Nelson pay $210 in court fees and follow all instructions of probation in her home county.
Another woman, Shawn Marie Kaarbo (aka Shawn Marie Melton and Shawn Marie Strandberg), 49, of Barnum earlier pleaded guilty in Carlton County Court to one count of voting while ineligible. Judge Dale Wolf sentenced Kaarbo to one year of local confinement and stayed the sentence for two years. He also ordered her to complete 40 hours of community work service.
Nelson and Kaarbo were charged on Feb. 13 after a records search determined that, at the time they voted in the November 2012 general election, neither had yet had her civil rights restored following felony convictions. Prior to voting, they both completed Minnesota Voter Registration applications, signed a certification indicating they were eligible to vote and put their signatures on the voter rolls at their respective polling places.
It wasn't until a couple of weeks following the election that they were found to have been ineligible to vote.
Nelson's felony conviction occurred in St. Louis County where she normally resides, but since she was in the Liberalis program in Carlton at the time of the election, her past offense did not show up in the local records.