Scottsdale woman indicted for casting dead mother’s ballot

By: - July 13, 2021 8:17 am
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In this photo illustration, a pencil lies on a U.S. presidential election mail-in ballot received by a U.S. citizen living abroad that shows current U.S. Republican President Donald Trump and his main contender, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, among the choices. Thousands of U.S. citizens living abroad have received their mail-in ballots via e-mail already. Photo by Sean Gallup | Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted a Scottsdale Republican woman for allegedly casting her dead mother’s early ballot in the November election in a rare prosecution for voter fraud in Arizona. 

Tracey Kay McKee, 63, faces one count of illegal voting and one count of perjury, according to the state grand jury’s May 7 indictment. Illegal voting is a class five felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, and perjury is a class four felony that is punishable by up to two and a half years behind bars. 

McKee has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, whose election integrity unit investigated the case, announced the indictment on Monday. 

According to the Attorney General’s Office, McKee’s mother died on Oct. 5, two days before early voting began and election officials began mailing early ballots to voters. The indictment alleged that McKee forged her mother’s name on the ballot and submitted it to election officials sometime between the start of early voting on Oct. 7 and election day on Nov. 3.

An attorney representing McKee could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Voter registration records from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office show that McKee is a registered Republican. 

The case came to the attention of the attorney general’s election integrity unit by way of a Phoenix resident who submitted the names of deceased voters “who may have voted” in the 2020 general election, according to Katie Conner, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office. 

“While no crime was alleged to have occurred with the bulk of the names referred, AGO agents thoroughly investigated the claims and determined almost every individual named in the provided complaint was either alive, that the deceased individual had not voted (even though they were sent a ballot in the mail), or the voter died after mailing their ballot,” Conner told the Arizona Mirror in an email. 

Conservative activist Merissa Hamilton told the Mirror that McKee’s mother, Mary Deloyht Arendt, was on a list of dead voters she provided to the attorney general in December and that she had the same address as her daughter. Hamilton, who has questioned the results of the 2020 election, submitted a list of 33 dead voters to the Attorney General’s Office that she said might have been recorded as casting ballots in the general election. She also submitted the names of some 400 other deceased voters who she believed had received ballots that were never cast.

“We commend General Brnovich and the Election Integrity Unit on their due diligence in pursuing the investigation from our deceased voter research project to bring justice to our good voters of Arizona in the November election,” Hamilton told the Mirror, adding that she hoped her group’s efforts would spur the passage of new “election integrity” laws.

Voter fraud cases are rare, and most cases in Arizona involve people accused of “double voting” in multiple states. As of last year, the Attorney General’s Office had only successfully prosecuted about 30 voter fraud cases since 2010, about two dozen of which involved double voting. 

Conner was not aware of any previous cases in which the attorney general prosecuted someone for casting another person’s ballot. It’s unclear whether any counties had prosecuted such cases.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”