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West Lebanon Man Charged With Voter Fraud In 2016 Election

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

This story has been updated with additional information from the New Hampshire Attorney General's office.

State officials have arrested and charged a West Lebanon man for casting two ballots under two different names in the 2016 general election. 

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said Vincent Marzello voted once under his name and also voted under the name of Helen Elisabeth Ashley in November 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Jane Young said the situation first came to the attention of law enforcement in the late 2019 and was referred to the attorney general’s office in early 2020. It is not uncommon for voting investigations in New Hampshire to take months or even years to prosecute.

More recently, Young said, the state received additional information about Marzello on Wednesday from James O'Keefe, the founder of the right-wing activist group Project Veritas.

“He had discussions with us about this case that focused us a little more intently on this case,” Young said.

After the state’s latest discussions with O’Keefe, Young said attorneys “did a deeper dive” and determined there was probable cause to arrest Marzello. But Young said state officials also wanted to move forward with the case swiftly ahead of the upcoming state primary.

“The timing is, there’s an election Tuesday, we want to make sure individuals are aware that you can only vote once,” Young said. “You’re encouraged to vote, but only vote once. And if you vote more than once, you will be investigated and there is a potential that you could be charged with a felony.”

While the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has prosecuted several wrongful voting cases in recent years, they’ve also said there’s no evidence that widespread fraud is a problem in the state’s elections.

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Records show that Marzello is still registered to vote, but hasn't voted since 2016. That year, officials say Marzello voted as an undeclared voter in his own name but as a Democrat under Helen Elisabeth Ashley's name. In 2012, officials say Marzello voted as a Republican.

Until recently, someone named Helen Elisabeth Ashley was also signed up as a ballot inspector for the Democratic party for the fall 2020 elections. But the party says they suspended that person as soon as they learned about the pending voting investigation.

In the suspension letter, Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, wrote, "New Hampshire's Inspectors of Election are held to the highest standards, as they share responsibility for preserving the integrity of our elections."

Buckley continued, "It has come to our attention that you may be involved in a pending investigation, and as such we are suspending your appointment effective immediately pending resolution of the investigation."

The party's first interaction with this individual was when they signed up to become a ballot inspector through a public online form.

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