MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A woman from San Diego has pleaded guilty to committing voter fraud in Madera County after officials say they received her mother’s ballot in the 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election – months after her mother had been pronounced dead.

According to Madera County officials, the Register of Voters had issued ballots to all Madera County residents in August 2021 ahead of the recall election scheduled for Sept. 14. The registrar’s office was notified a few days later that the defendant’s mother had passed away earlier in the year, which made her ballot non-voteable. However, the ballot belonging to the defendant’s mother was received on Sept. 10 with what was determined to be an invalid signature.

The Madera County Registrar of Voters says Elizabeth Gale from San Diego had claimed to have witnessed her mother signing the ballot – despite her mother having passed away before the ballot was even sent out.

“Ms. Gale’s poor decision was discovered, and she was prosecuted,” said Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez.

According to the Madera County DA’s office, Gale was charged with felony violations of the California Elections Code and eventually plead guilty to a felony charge.

“I take the responsibility of protecting our elections seriously,” said Martinez. “Madera County elections are fair, transparent, and accurate. Ms. Gale attempted to cheat us all and I refuse to allow anyone to do that.”

Gale was sentenced to two years of felony probation.