Community service

Ordained community service for Minnetonka man who voted twice in 2020 election

Felony’s voter fraud charges against a 30-year-old Minnetonka man for casting two ballots in the 2020 election were stayed and he was instead given a day of community service.

Although it’s fairly rare to see such cases in Minnesota — election officials say the voting crime rate is statistically nil — Alexander Leonard Peck faced two counts of illegal voting and registration in more than one precinct, according to charges filed in Hennepin County District Court last month.

Peck admitted he knew he could only vote once in an election and apologized to the Edina police officer who investigated the voter fraud report. It’s unclear who Peck voted for and why the case was stayed, as there is no documentation in the district court to state his motive or omission. Calls and text messages sent to Peck over the past month have not been returned. The charges will be dismissed once Peck completes a pre-trial diversion program.

He is a licensed social worker at a Hutchinson clinic and received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and his master’s degree from Boston University. Court records say he lives in Minnetonka, but he voted by mail with an address in Minneapolis in September 2020, then again in November in an Edina neighborhood where he registered using a Sunnyside Road address. .

It was not until June 2021 that Edina police received unspecified evidence of Peck’s illegal voting record. In a phone call with a detective, Peck said “sorry” when faced with double voting, according to the criminal complaint.

Between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 15, 2022, there were a total of 72 charges and 22 convictions for voting-related crimes, Minnesota Secretary of State spokeswoman Cassondra Knudson said in an e e-mail to the Star Tribune. For context, Knudson said that conviction rate is “statistically zero” because there are more than 3.5 million registered voters in Minnesota.

Earlier this month, Peck was disciplined for performing 24 hours of community service as part of the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office pretrial diversion program.

The case against him is on hold until September 2023, but until then Peck must remain law-abiding and meet all program requirements or the prosecution will resume.

Last year, five people were charged in Stearns County with felonies for various forms of voter fraud, including a probationary St. Cloud man who asked to receive an absentee ballot for the general election in 2020 but rejected it.

In April, a 25-year-old Minneapolis man was sentenced to 90 days in the workhouse after admitting he helped people submit fraudulently cast absentee ballots in 2018, then ultimately purged and never renewed.

Abdihakim A. Essa pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to four of 13 counts of intentionally fabricating or signing a false certificate when submitting mail-in ballots for a few weeks during the summer.