An Arapahoe County judge last month sentenced an Aurora man to probation for falsely registering to vote — marking the lone conviction in a 2013 voter fraud investigation that identified more than 100 suspects. Vitaliy B. Grabchenko, 49, pleaded guilty to procuring false registration, a misdemeanor, on Feb. 24. Arapahoe County Judge Addison Adams gave Grabchenko a two-year deferred sentence and ordered him to complete 48 hours of community service. He will also be on supervised probation for two years. Grabchenko, a Polish national, was one of four people charged in 2013 as part of a large-scale and controversial voter fraud investigation launched by former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Gessler had identified more than 100 people he said illegally voted, but the four charged in Arapahoe County were the only people in Colorado to face charges.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler later dropped charges against two of the defendants. A fourth man, Carl Blocker, was supposed to go on trial last fall on voter fraud charges but he failed to appear in court and remains a fugitive, said Michelle Yi, a spokeswoman for Brauchler.
In the case of Tadesse Degefa, 73, of Aurora, prosecutors a week before the trial asked a judge to drop the false registration charge and the judge dismissed the case the day it was supposed to start.
In a statement, prosecutors said Degefa asked for a ballot in the mail for the 2012 election even though he wasn’t a citizen and couldn’t legally vote. But, prosecutors said, because the law makes it easy for a third party to ask for a ballot for someone else, they couldn’t prove it was actually Degefa who asked for the ballot.