The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Two Men Charged With Submitting >8000 Fraudulent Voter Registrations in Attempt to Get One Elected Mayor

Carlos Montenegro was running for mayor of Hawthorne, an 85,000-person city in South Central L.A.


City News Service reports:

A man who tried to run for mayor in Hawthorne pleaded not guilty Tuesday in connection with an alleged voter fraud case in which thousands of fraudulent voter registration applications were allegedly submitted on behalf of homeless people, a fraud effort that prosecutors allege was being funded by the criminal gang MS-13.

Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro—also known as Mark Anthony Gonsalves—is charged with 18 felony counts of voter fraud, 11 felony counts of procuring a false or forged instrument, two felony counts of perjury and one felony count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud, along with nine misdemeanor counts of interference with a prompt transfer of a completed affidavit, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Montenegro, 53, allegedly submitted more than 8,000 fraudulent voter registration applications between July and October, as well as allegedly falsifying names, addresses and signatures on nomination papers under penalty of perjury to run for mayor in Hawthorne….

You can read the Criminal Complaint for more (and there was more); see especially pp. 1-3.

I haven't been closely following the various recent allegations of voting irregularities, whether allegedly fraudulent or simply erroneous; but to the extent there doubtless were some irregularities somewhere in the country, I've seen no evidence that they actually swung any particular election (Presidential or otherwise). Still, elections in smaller districts are routinely decided by a few dozen votes or less (right now there's an under-50-vote margin in one of the Iowa congressional races), and of course the 2000 presidential election ended up turning on just several hundred votes in Florida. And, unsurprisingly, when power and money is at stake, human systems attract fraud; in some elections, that fraud could indeed make a difference.