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Felon charged with illegally voting in Duluth

Joshua Thompson

A former Duluth man may have believed he was doing his civic duty by going to his local polling place and registering to vote for the 2012 presidential election, but authorities say he committed a felony.

Joshua Allen Thompson, 35, had been sentenced months earlier in a felony domestic assault case and was serving a probationary sentence that stripped him of his voting rights, according to court documents.

Thompson, who is currently serving prison time, is now charged in State District Court in Duluth with an offense that rarely comes before a Northeastern Minnesota court: "unlawful voting by a felon."

If convicted, the felony offense carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, though most convictions result in probation.

Thompson, who has a substantial criminal history in Roseau County, allegedly registered and voted at the Harrison Community Center in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood on Nov. 6, 2012.

About seven months earlier, he was convicted of domestic assault by strangulation and lost his right to vote for the duration of a three-year probationary sentence. At that time, he signed an agreement including that provision, according to a criminal complaint.

When interviewed by a Duluth police investigator in April 2014, Thompson acknowledged voting and said he recalled signing a probation agreement. However, he claimed he "did not remember that he was not allowed to vote and never thought anything of it," the complaint said.

It was not immediately clear what led to the investigation of Thompson, or why it came so long after the election.

Thompson is currently serving 39 months in prison for a subsequent case involving domestic assault and weapons charges. He was transported from a prison facility to the St. Louis County Jail on Monday to face the charge, according to jail records.

He is set to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday.

While allegations of voter fraud have run rampant among some political pundits, few cases have been prosecuted in the Northland.

Among them, the St. Louis County Attorney's Office in 2011 charged six people with unlawful voting in Duluth and on the Iron Range. More recently, two women in Carlton County were charged with illegally voting in the 2012 election.

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