Madera · Politics

Woman sentenced in Madera Co. voter fraud scheme over falsified voter registrations

A Monterey County woman who worked on a 2018 campaign allegedly re-registered a dozen Madera County voters to the Democratic Party without their knowledge has pleaded guilty to six counts of election fraud.

The woman, 30-year-old April Atilano, received a maximum misdemeanor sentence of 364 days in the Madera County Jail from Judge Michael Jerkovich on April 9.

Atilano was hired by an organization, known as EVP 2018, to conduct voter registration drives. Atilano submitted a number of voter registration forms to the Madera County Clerk-Recorder’s office, which serves as the Registrar of Voters.

Atilano was charged by the Madera County District Attorney’s office in October after the staff of the county’s Clerk-Recorder discovered irregularities with voter registration cards submitted in July 2018.

She was initially charged with 12 counts of felony elections fraud.

“In August as my staff began processing the registration card, they noticed many irregularities with the cards and notified me of their findings,” Madera County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez said in a statement last October.

According to the elections department, staffers noticed that the signatures for the voters registering, or re-registering, to vote did not match signatures on-file.

California elections officials often utilize voters’ DMV signatures to ensure vote-by-mail ballots are, in fact, cast by the voter.

Martinez told KFSN shortly after charges were filed that all voters had their registrations unknowingly changed to Democrat.

“Election fraud is a serious crime and I have maintained that Ms. Atilano must serve time behind bars,” Martinez said this week after the sentence was handed down. “This was a deliberate act and the integrity of our elections was jeopardized by her actions.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Atilano won’t begin serving her sentence immediately. She was ordered to report to the Madera County Jail by July 10, according to SierraNewsOnline.

She will be parole eligible after 90 days, but will serve three years formal felony probation.

Atilano also will serve 3 years on formal felony probation.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at [email protected]