Maine College Student Accused of Voting as Ex-Roommate Faces 5 Years in Prison

A University of Maine student is facing criminal charges of up to five years in prison for allegedly voting in the name of a former roommate, authorities said on Tuesday.

Local election officials have accused Alyssa Dau, 19, of Bowdoinham, of voting as her former roommate Evangelia Suleiman with an absentee ballot in Orono, according to Associated Press. Authorities found the ballot, received October 15, to be in potential violation of voting regulations before it was processed. Both Suleiman and Dau were students at the University of Maine.

"It is a serious crime in Maine to cast or attempt to cast an illegal vote, either absentee or in person. My office will vigorously investigate and prosecute any allegations of election fraud," Attorney General Aaron Frey said.

Maine
Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon fills out her absentee ballot to vote in person on October 14, 2020 at the town hall in Freeport, Maine. Sarah Rice/Getty

State officials have described the incident as extremely rare. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey says the accused appears to have been motivated by personal reasons and did not intend to influence the outcome of the election.

"Our attorneys are aware of just one case in the past twenty years where we have charged (and convicted) a person for voting another person's ballot," said Marc Malon, a spokesperson for the attorney general, according to Central Maine. "In that case it was a family member filling out the ballot of another family member. This was the only situation our folks were aware of involving non-related individuals."

"They also estimated that there have been fewer than 5 or 6 cases in the past decade or so of attempted dual-voting, but they need to check their records at the office to get the number right. Suffice it to say it is extremely rare, and the type of case we filed today is even more rare," Malon added.

Dau was charged with two class C felonies—forging the name of another on an absentee ballot and voting in the name of another person. Both crimes are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not exceeding $5,000.

Frey indicated that the state intends to harshly punish any attempts at voter fraud.

"We will work closely with the Secretary of State's Office to ensure the integrity of elections," he said. "It is a serious crime in Maine to cast or attempt to cast an illegal vote, either absentee or in person. My office will vigorously investigate and prosecute any allegations of election fraud."

More than 369,800 Maine voters had already cast their ballots as of Tuesday afternoon, according to ElectProject. Among those, 191,600 were registered Democrats, 79,500 registered Republicans and 11,300 registered Independents. Roughly 87,000 early voters in the state had no party affiliation.

Newsweek reached out to the University of Maine for further information.