Records from the Alaska Division of Elections reveal that a former Anchorage Police Officer convicted on federal charges for false claims of citizenship and passport fraud has voted repeatedly in federal, state, and local elections in Alaska dating back to 1991. Raphael Mora-Lopez – a.k.a. Raphael A. Espinoza – voted most recently in 2010, casting ballots in the local municipal elections as well as both primary and general state-wide elections. In all he voted no less than 41 times over a 20-year period.
Though the State pressed charges relating to $27,000 fraudulently obtained by Mora-Lopez from Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend payouts, he was sentenced to only 24 months in jail with all 24 months suspended. State prosecutors subsequently declined to press charges on at least 41 counts of voter misconduct in the first degree, a class C felony in the State of Alaska.
This new information raises grave concerns about elections integrity in Alaska, and about the level of seriousness among State officials with respect to voter fraud. One might view the State’s inaction as an oversight had the Associated Press not reported the fact as early as June 2011, ostensibly citing federal court records. But given that the Alaska Division of Elections has since purged Mora-Lopez from the voter rolls, it is certain that State officials were not in the dark.
The fact that State prosecutors would turn a blind eye to such an egregious case not only casts doubt upon the integrity of the Department of Law, but makes a mockery of Alaska’s election laws.
In 2010, US Senate candidate Joe Miller raised similar concerns only to have them summarily dismissed by State officials. The fact that the charges against Raphael Mora-Lopez in April 2011 came on the heels of the State’s internal investigation of the 2010 general election in which the State denied having a problem with illegal felon voters may account for the State’s reticence to raise the profile of this case by pressing charges.
However, such a scenario offers little comfort for concerned citizens. For if the State would sweep 41 felonies under the rug to protect a local police officer, or perhaps just to save face, what might it cover up to protect a United States Senator?
Photo credit: Joe Miller, All Rights Reserved