Iowa woman found guilty of voter fraud in support of Republican husband

<span>People cast ballots at an early voting polling location for the 2020 presidential elections in Adel, Iowa.</span><span>Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images</span>
People cast ballots at an early voting polling location for the 2020 presidential elections in Adel, Iowa.Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

An Iowa woman found guilty on 52 counts of voter fraud, carried out in support of her Republican husband, was given an eight-month custodial sentence.

Kim Taylor, of Woodbury county, will serve four months in prison and four in home confinement, KTIV, a Sioux City TV station, reported. Subject to two years’ supervised release, Taylor will also pay $5,200.

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Each count carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison – or 260 years in all.

During sentencing on Monday, Leonard Strand, the judge, said a vastly lighter punishment was correct because of factors including Taylor’s caretaking role for her children and good community standing.

Taylor’s husband, Jeremy Taylor, ran for Congress in 2020, losing a Republican primary. He was then elected to the Woodbury county board of supervisors. He resigned as board chair after his wife was convicted but remains a board member. He was not charged in the voter fraud case but has said he will not seek re-election.

Last November, Kim Taylor was found guilty of 26 counts of providing false information in registering and voting, 23 counts of fraudulent voting and three counts of fraudulent registration.

The office of the US attorney for the northern district of Iowa said Taylor “perpetrated a scheme to fraudulently generate votes for her husband in the primary election for Iowa’s fourth US congressional district in June 2020.

“After Taylor’s husband lost in the primary, he ran for Woodbury county supervisor … and Taylor again engaged in ballot fraud, causing absentee ballots to be fraudulently requested and cast.

“Taylor submitted or caused others to submit dozens of voter registrations, absentee ballot request forms, and absentee ballots containing false information. Taylor completed and signed voter forms without voters’ permission and told others that they could sign on behalf of relatives who were not present.”

The US attorney, Timothy Duax, said: “The right to vote is one of our most important constitutional rights.

“Ms Taylor deprived citizens of their right to vote in order to benefit her husband’s campaign. Today, another group of citizens, fulfilling their civic duty as jurors, held her accountable for her actions. The guilty verdict is an example of how the justice system works to protect the voting rights of citizens and ensure fair and honest elections.”

Voter fraud – real or alleged – has become a fraught issue, particularly since Donald Trump refused to accept defeat by Joe Biden in 2020 and pursued his lie about widespread fraud into this year’s re-match.

With Republican politicians and Republican-run states backing Trump’s lie, polling shows Republican voters are much more likely than Democrats to believe elections are significantly affected by fraud, which is very rare in the US.

Analysing voter fraud case data collected by the hard-right Heritage Foundation, the nonpartisan Brookings Institution recently said: “So, what’s going on here? Nothing … the amount of proven election fraud is miniscule.”

In Iowa, Strand said “people” would inevitably “wonder if there’s a political angle” to Taylor’s conviction, given that her husband is a Republican, that Duax was appointed by the Biden administration, and because Taylor was dramatically arrested by a “strike team”.

Taylor’s lawyer, F Montgomery Brown, said he did not “see anything in the internal communications that suggested there was any influence by the Biden administration whatsoever. That would be false. I saw nothing. I raised my concerns … about the whole circus with arresting her, showing up early in the morning, scaring the kids and that was totally unnecessary.”

A prosecutor said: “Sometimes an arrest can be a galvanizing moment. We understand there were weapons in the home.”