An 86-year-old St. Peter woman’s criminal case of voter fraud was resolved without her having to appear in court Tuesday morning. Margaret Schneider will not have to pay a fine, spend time in jail or serve probation under an agreement approved in Nicollet County District Court. Instead the only requirement is that she obey voting laws. Schneider was charged with voter fraud, a felony, in March. She mistakenly voted with an absentee ballot on July 13 and again at her polling place Aug. 14. Schneider, who has Parkinson’s disease and suffers from dementia, said she forgot she had voted.
Margaret Schneider will tell you life hasn’t been easy lately. She uses a walker to get around her small St. Peter apartment, can’t stand for long periods of time and readily admits she’s a victim of senior moments. Schneider, 86, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia is one of her symptoms. She’s also easily stressed, which became apparent while she discussed with The Free Press the letter she received recently from the Nicollet County Attorney’s Office. It told her she’s been charged with a felony for voting twice during the 2012 primary election. Schneider doesn’t deny the allegation. She realizes now, after talking with St. Peter police detective Travis Sandland, that she did vote twice. She voted once with an absentee ballot on July 13 and again at her polling place Aug. 14. “It had been awhile and I didn’t even remember,” Schneider said. “I was shocked to death because I thought my absentee ballot was for the president.” Schneider’s daughter, Eva Moore, signed the absentee ballot as a witness. In most cases, she also would have given her mother a ride to her polling place during the Aug. 14 primary election. The weather was nice that day, however, and the polling place close to Schneider’s apartment, so Schneider walked up to vote on her own.