The Buzz

BREAKING: Guilty plea in Missouri voter fraud case UPDATED

Updated: 2013-05-14T22:12:20Z

By DAVE HELLING

The Kansas City Star

UPDATE 3, Tuesday: Correction — John Moretina is 60, not 61.

UPDATE 2: For some in the blog community who routinely struggle with legal issues, the Moretina charge — which we read before we posted the story — does not say Moretina did not vote in the Rizzo race.

But federal law only prohibits illegal voting in federal races. Because the August 2010 primary included U.S. congressional candidates, a fraudulent registration becomes a federal crime.

Had no federal candidates been on the August 2010 ballot, Moretina would not have faced federal prosecution. He would, however, have potentially faced state charges for violating state law by allegedly casting a fraudulent ballot in a state race like Rizzo’s.

The plea agreement specifically allows other jurisdictions to pursue prosecutions, including state and local authorities.

This is a fairly simple concept, which at times eludes those less enamored with accuracy.

EARLIER:

John C. Moretina pleaded guilty Monday to a federal felony count of voter fraud in connection with the August 2010 primary in Missouri’s 40th legislative district.

Moretina, 61, entered the plea as part of an agreement with the U.S. attorney.

As part of the plea Moretina admitted he gave false information to the Kansas City Election Board in order to cast a ballot in the Aug. 3, 2010 primary in the 40th legislative district.

The only two Democratic candidates on the 40th district primary ballot were current state Rep. J.J. Rizzo and Will Royster. Rizzo won the primary by one vote, 664 to 663.

Moretina is Rizzo’s uncle.

UPDATE: The federal charge does not accuse Moretina of illegally voting in Rizzo’s race. Rather, it says he tried to illegally vote in two federal races, which is what makes it a federal crime.

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