The New Paltz, NY Times Herald-Record has a story this morning on the conviction of Amy Little, Tate Hausman and Yolanda Hippensteele.
Political organizer from New Paltz guilty of illegal voting
By Alexa James
Posted: April 30, 2009 – 2:00 AM
NEW PALTZ — Conspicuous political mobilizer Amy Little of New Paltz pleaded guilty Tuesday to voting illegally in Ohio during the presidential election campaign.
During the race, Little worked for an independent get-out-the-vote group called Vote Today Ohio. While touting Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the battleground state, she also registered to vote there.
Little, 50, claimed she’d moved from her home in New Paltz to a place in Columbus, near Ohio State University. Her new address doubled as headquarters for Vote Today Ohio. Other transplants in the group also used that location to register to vote in Ohio.
According to Ohio election laws, voters must reside in the state at least 30 days prior to the election and must intend to stay there after November.
“From my perspective, I was within the law,” Little said Wednesday, suggesting she was “targeted by Republicans.”
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider saw things differently. In court, he said Little and her compatriots chose to vote in Ohio, instead of their home states, in an attempt to sway its electoral college toward Obama.
He sentenced Little, along with Daniel “Tate” Hausman, 32, of New York, and Yolanda Hippensteele, 30, of California, either to spend 60 days in jail or pay a $1,000 fine. Little said she’ll pay the fine.
The controversy also cost Little her role as a paid adviser for Rep. John Hall, D-Dover Plains. He cut ties with her when the investigation surfaced.
Little plans to continue her political work in New Paltz. The misdemeanor conviction “is such a footnote,” she said. “Obama won by a landslide (in Ohio) and that’s what I was working for.”
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said his office is investigating dozens of voter fraud cases.
Little is probably correct that the numbers of voter fraud cases would not have tipped the election. However, her public quotes portray her as taking it all very lightly. The Ohio law is pretty clear that residency was required to vote in the state. These three people never planned to stay there. It is an open question how prevalent this practice was. I think the conduct of the leaders raises questions about the integrity of the entire Vote Today Ohio operation. Many people came from out of state to work for VTO and get out the Obama vote during Ohio’s “golden week” of early voting. Organizers were asking for places to stay for these out-of-state organizers all over the state. How many of them followed the lead of the VTO leaders?
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told me yesterday that more indictments are on the way. Court documents relating to the case are here and here.