Jason T. Schofield, a Republican elections commissioner in Rensselaer County, New York will plead guilty to fraudulently obtaining and filing absentee ballots.
Schofield's attorney, Danielle Neroni, confirmed her client will plead guilty on January 11, 2023 and that he "will be resigning from his position."
His plea would mark the second conviction in a probe spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the harvesting of absentee ballots in elections over the past two years.
Schofield was arraigned in September on an indictment charging him with unlawfully using the names and dates of birth of voters to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots for elections in 2021.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said he "unlawfully possessed and used the names and dates of birth of voters in connection with absentee ballot applications he submitted to a New York State Board of Elections web site."
The agency said Schofield "took possession of the absentee ballots issued to these voters," brought them to voters, and had these voters sign absentee ballot envelopes but not actually vote, which enabled him or others to cast votes in these voters' names.
A source close to the case told reporters that as part of his guilty plea, Schofield will cooperate with federal investigators who are examining the misuse of county resources and employees to gather absentee ballots.
The FBI's investigation of voter fraud "is running parallel to a similar investigation by the state attorney general's office," according to The Times Union, which noted that state prosecutors recently served a grand jury subpoena on Rensselaer County to access "a trove of absentee ballot documents" that were handled in 2021 by the county's operations director and director of purchasing respectively.
False allegations of voter fraud have become a favorite conservative talking point over the last few years, particularly after former Republican President Donald Trump spent much of his term casting doubt on the integrity of the 2020 general election and since then has repeatedly and falsely declared it was stolen.
But even though many of Trump's supporters have embraced these allegations—despite the lack of any credible evidence—no evidence of widespread voter fraud has ever been uncovered and voter fraud itself, electoral experts and political scientists say, is actually quite rare.
The news of Schofield's guilty plea soon went viral and prompted many to make the same joke—that it's in fact Republicans who are guilty of the crime they've accused others of committing.
Schofield is of course only the latest Republican to face charges related to voter fraud.
For instance, over the summer, Barry Morphew, a Colorado man who was previously charged with the murder of his still-missing wife, pleaded guilty to casting a presidential ballot under her name for Trump in the 2020 election. Morphrew admitted he did so because he assumed Democrats were "cheating."
There is no evidence that the 2020 general election was stolen and Trump's statements often ran counter to the findings of federal agencies.
In fact, a statement from the Trump administration's own Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of a joint statement from the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees, affirmed the agencies found "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."