May 14, 2013
“It’s an unfortunate incident,” State Rep. JJ Rizzo told Northeast News in reference to his uncle’s court case.
Rizzo’s uncle John Moretina pleaded guilty to voter fraud Monday during court proceedings at the United States Courts for the Western District of Missouri.
Moretina admitted to lying about his residence in order to register in Rizzo’s district and cast a ballot during the August 2010 election between Missouri House candidates Rizzo and Will Royster, both Historic Northeast residents. Rizzo won the 2010 election by one vote and ran unopposed this past November.
Royster disputed the election results in 2010 and alleged that multiple family members of Rizzo’s fraudulently voted in the election.
“We had the documented proof,” Royster told Northeast News. “However, the court chose to disallow the indisputable evidence into trial.”
Royster also alleged that a Rizzo supporter transported Somali immigrants, who were unable to read or write English, to the polls and told them to vote for Rizzo.
Moretina could serve up to five years in prison and be fined.
Royster said he finds no satisfaction in Moretina’s guilty plea.
“All legal votes were nullified by the illegal votes, and the legitimate will of the voters was unrecognized,” Royster said. “Legal voters were disenfranchised.
“I have no satisfaction in knowing that our voting process was corrupted. I also have no satisfaction in saying, ‘I told you so.’ Even if Rizzo were to resign – which he should do – the Northeast has suffered embarrassment and under-representation as a direct result of self-serving people in positions of public trust. It’s a sad day for The Republic.”
Asked what needs to be done to prevent voter fraud in the future, Royster said election judges need to know and enforce election laws and that the election board must take enforcement actions when questionable incidents occur. In addition, the secretary of state shouldn’t sign flawed elections and the state, county and city prosecutors must prosecute, he said.
Asked if Missouri should reconsider its voter ID laws, Rizzo said the case of his uncle wasn’t a voter ID issue, but a registration issue.
“In that regard, it doesn’t seem plausible to talk about stricter photo ID laws,” Rizzo said. “I think this situation could happen to anybody that’s ever been elected.
“It might be time to re-examine how elections operate. I’m still thinking about where this goes in the future for voter laws. It’s definitely something that maybe we need to as Democrats really look at as well.”