Nevada Man Featured in GOP Ad on Voter Fraud Admits to Forging Dead Wife's Name on Ballot

A business executive from Las Vegas who claimed someone voted as his deceased wife has pled guilty to voter fraud, the Associated Press reported.

Donald Kirk Hartle entered a plea deal that would allow him to avoid jail time. Instead, he is expected to pay a $2,000 fine and receive the equivalent of one year of probation. His plea is scheduled for November 16.

Hartle previously said that his wife, Rosemarie Hartle, was on a state list of active voters and had a ballot be submitted in her name and signature, but she died in 2017. His claim of voter fraud was widely used among Republicans as evidence of voter fraud, claiming that current President Joe Biden rigged the election against Donald Trump.

Hartle was later charged with two felonies for submitting his dead wife's ballot, according to a criminal complaint filed upon his arrest. His attorney, David Chesnoff, told reporters that Hartle accepted responsibility for his actions. Hartle is currently the only person in Nevada being prosecuted on charges of voter fraud.

Upon the filing of the complaint, Attorney General Aaron Ford said that voting fraud was rare. However, he added that "when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office."

Ford was not immediately available for comment.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Nevada Voting
A Las Vegas business executive whose claim of voter fraud was featured by state Republicans after the November 2020 election has agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of voting more than once in the same election. Above, people wait to vote in-person at Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada, prior to polls closing on November 3, 2020. AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File

Biden defeated then-President Trump by 33,596 out of 1.4 million votes cast, or about 2.4 percent.

State and federal courts in Nevada and other states rejected dozens of election challenges by Republicans and Trump's presidential campaign, including claims of widespread voter fraud.

In an earlier Nevada case, a 53-year-old man was sentenced last July to up to two years of probation for his guilty plea to one felony charge of voting twice—in Benton, Arkansas and in Las Vegas—during the 2016 presidential election.

At least five other people have been convicted in Nevada since 2011 of registration fraud during voter recruitment, and one woman pleaded guilty to trying to vote twice in 2012.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, said in April that reviews of election fraud claims delivered to her office by the state GOP in March found that some cases were already under investigation but that most were baseless or inaccurately interpreted.

Hartle is an executive at Ahern Rentals, a company that hosted a re-election campaign event in September of 2020 for Trump.

Company owner Donald Ahern also owns a Las Vegas hotel at which a national group espousing fringe QAnon conspiracy theories met in October for an event with speakers featured on Fox TV, News Max, The Victory Channel, One America Network and other sites favored by Trump.

Las Vegas Voting
Jennifer McKay votes at the Desert Breeze Community Center on November 3, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images