CINCINNATI - A former Ohio poll worker on Wednesday was sentenced to five years in prison for voting illegally on behalf of other people, including a comatose relative.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman handed down the sentence to Melowese Richardson, 58, of Madisonville, two months after she pleaded no contest to four counts of illegal voting and subsequently was found guilty.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped four other charges; Richardson had faced up to 12 years in prison if she had been convicted of all eight original charges.
"You've hurt citizens of this county and people who fought for our freedom," Ruehlman told Richardson.
Richardson previously told a local TV station that she had voted multiple times for President Obama on behalf of herself and family members, calling the ballots she cast "absolutely legal" and saying that "there was no intent on my part to commit any voter fraud."
She also said she would fight the charges against her.
"I'll fight it for Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama's right to sit as president of the United States," she said.
In a statement announcing charges against Richardson and two others accused of voter fraud, county Prosecutor Joseph Deters said that "every vote is important and every voter and candidate needs to have faith in our system."
He added: "This is not North Korea."