Montrose woman not guilty in voter fraud trial - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Montrose woman not guilty in voter fraud trial

KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -  It didn't take a jury long to come back with a verdict in a Lee County, Iowa voter fraud case that's made national headlines. 

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour and came back with a not guilty verdict around 11:30 Thursday morning at the South Lee County Courthouse.

Kelli Jo Griffin wiped away tears as the judge read the verdict on one count of felony perjury in a case of voter fraud.

"I was ready for either direction, but I am happy that I was not guilty," Griffin said.

Griffin was on trial for voter fraud after county officials accused her of fraudulently voting in a municipal election last November in Montrose.

"We did some further investigation on our voter registration site and we discovered that she had been convicted of a felony in another county," Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise. 

Griffin, who was convicted on felony drug charges in 2008, says she was confused because under former Governor Tom Vilsack's administration, felons automatically gained their voting rights back once they were released from state supervision.

But Governor Terry Branstad reversed that automatic policy in 2011 and added additional steps to the process.

Griffin's attorney argued the state should have been more clear with her about the law change and the jury agreed.

"There should have been someone explaining this to people who might be unaware of it," Griffin said. "When I was released from probation someone should have said you can't vote."

Griffin's attorney pleaded to the jury that Griffin had struggled with a past of drug abuse, molestation and domestic abuse.

Griffin says she hopes the verdict teaches people one thing.

"I hope that this will show people that you can change your life around and become a better person," Griffin said.

State and county officials from all over Iowa were watching this trial closely because this was the first case to go to trial since Iowa increased scrutiny into voter fraud.



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