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Originally published October 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 30, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Three plead guilty in fake voter scheme

Three of seven defendants in the biggest voter-registration fraud scheme in Washington history have pleaded guilty and one has been sentenced...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Three of seven defendants in the biggest voter-registration fraud scheme in Washington history have pleaded guilty and one has been sentenced, prosecutors said Monday.

The defendants were all temporary employees of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, when they allegedly filled out and submitted more than 1,800 fictitious voter-registration cards during a 2006 registration drive in King and Pierce counties.

No votes were cast in the names of the phony voters. Prosecutors said the defendants committed fraud in order to keep their jobs without actually registering voters.

King County election workers brought the fraud to the attention of prosecutors last October, after noticing that signatures on many registration forms looked like they had been written by the same person.

Ryan Olson, 28, of Needles, Calif., was the first to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty Thursday in King County Superior Court to two counts of providing false information on a voter-registration application, a felony. Court Commissioner Kenneth Comstock sentenced him to 30 days in jail or in electronic home detention, the sentence recommended by prosecutors, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Tina Johnson, 24, of Tacoma, and Jayson Woods, 20, of Elkridge, Md., also have pleaded guilty to eight counts each of registration fraud. Donohoe said prosecutors have recommended 120 days of jail for each of them using the same formula applied to Olson: 15 days for each count.

Brianna Debwa, 35, of Tacoma; Robert Greene, 56, of Tacoma; and Clifton Mitchell, 45, of Lakewood, Pierce County, have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear in court in November. Kendra Thill, 19, no known address, was charged with voter fraud and is wanted for failure to appear in court.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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