Crime, Law and Justice

Minneapolis man charged with falsifying 13 absentee ballots ahead of 2018 election

Prosecutors on Thursday charged a Minneapolis man with 13 counts of felony voting fraud.

Investigators say Abdihakim Amin Essa, 22, who's a permanent resident but not a U.S. citizen, falsified 13 applications for absentee ballots and tried to cast one himself.

Essa allegedly told authorities that he worked for a political campaign, but prosecutors did not say which candidate it was.

According to the criminal complaint, Hennepin County election workers grew suspicious on July 30, 2018, when Essa brought a prospective voter to the government center. The woman did not have the proper identification, but she came back later with a different “helper” and a new application with a different address.

Investigators say Essa returned to the government center the next day with a “helper” and attempted to vote under a false name. When asked if he’d spoken to another employee a day earlier, Essa “got nervous and acted as if he did not understand English” before leaving the office, the complaint says.

Election staff looked through about 9,000 absentee ballots and found 13 where Essa allegedly signed his own name or his father’s name as a witness. Essa's father is a citizen and is registered to vote.

The county notified the voters whose absentee ballots were rejected, and told them they'd need to vote again, but none did.

Attempts to reach Essa Thursday evening were not successful.

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