Officials have found a case of a dead person voting.
Bruce Bartman has been charged with unlawful voting and perjury over allegations that he pretended to be his dead mother to cast a ballot in the November election for President Trump in Pennsylvania.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced the charges in a press release today.
Bartman was arraigned Friday and released on $100,000 bail, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
If convicted on all charges, the 70-year-old Bartman could spend up to 19 years in prison.
“This is the only known case of a ‘dead person’ voting in our county, conspiracy theories notwithstanding,” Stollsteimer said in a statement. “Further, the prompt prosecution of this case shows that law enforcement will continue to uphold our election laws whenever presented with actual evidence of fraud and that we will continue to investigate every allegation that that comes our way.”
Prosecutors said Bartman registered two dead people — his mother, Elizabeth Bartman, and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Weihman — as Republican voters in August.
He used the state’s online voter-registration portal, which allows residents to register to vote using their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, prosecutors said.
He used his mother-in-law’s Social Security number to register, which was flagged in the state system as belonging to someone who is dead, prosecutors added, but the software sent a letter addressed to her to confirm whether she was alive.
Bartman lied on the form and pretended to be Weihman, prosecutors said, but ultimately did not request an absentee ballot in her name.
Bartman also registered his dead mother to vote and ultimately successfully cast a ballot for Trump and other Republicans in her name, prosecutors said.
Voter fraud is extremely rare in the US.
A database maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation found only 193 convicted cases of voter fraud between 2000 and 2020, during which about 250 million votes were cast.
Republicans frequently make baseless claims that voter fraud has a larger scope and scale, while pushing for laws that would make it harder for people to vote.
“For all the conspiracy theorists out there, this case today does not represent widespread voter fraud,” Stollsteimer told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “This case was evidence that one person committed voter fraud by casting an improper and illegal ballot.”
President-elect Joe Biden won Delaware County by about 78,000 votes and won the overall popular vote by about 7 million votes.
Trump and his political allies have filed 40 lawsuits challenging election results — some of them alleging fraud — and none of them have succeeded.
In Delaware County, a task force composed of prosecutors, detectives, and other investigators has looked into voter-fraud complaints made to the board of elections.
Out of the hundreds of tips it received, Bartman was the only one that was substantiated, First Assistant District Attorney Tanner Rouse told The Inquirer.
“In the hundreds of calls we received and the hundreds of visits we made, we only found one instance of malfeasance, and that was Mr. Bartman,” Rouse said. “And he will be prosecuted.”
Samuel Stretton, Bartman’s lawyer, told The Inquirer his client took responsibility for his actions.
“In his political frustration, he chose to do something stupid,” Stretton told The Inquirer. “And for that he is very sorry.”