Michigan man pleads guilty after signing daughter's ballot

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A Canton Township man has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor election law violation after being accused of forging his daughter’s signature on an absentee voter ballot in November's general election, the Michigan Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday.

Paul Parana, 47, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the offense, a 90-day misdemeanor election law violation, for "impersonating a voter." 

Parana was charged in November with forging a signature on an absentee ballot and impersonating another to vote at an election. Those charges carry five- and four-year penalties, respectively. 

Investigators found that Parana failed to forward the absentee ballot, which arrived at his home, to his daughter but instead filled it out as she instructed and forged her name on the back of the ballot envelope and mailed it to the Canton Township Clerk’s Office.

 The clerk’s office reported the situation to the Michigan Department of State for investigation after discovering the fraudulent ballot. The daughter’s ballot was eventually accepted after she was contacted by the the township clerk to obtain her valid signature on an affidavit, as mandated by law.

Parana was sentenced to 90 days of probation and ordered to pay court costs and fees of roughly $1,100 by Wayne County Circuit Judge Deborah Thomas. 

“While voter fraud rarely occurs, we are vigilant in pursuing such activity when it does,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “This is an example of how my office reviews legitimate claims of voter fraud to discover the facts and prosecute according to the law.” 

“Michigan’s election was the most secure in our state’s history, and the results accurately reflect the will of the voters,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Despite unprecedented scrutiny, we continue to affirm the security and integrity of the process with our zero tolerance policy for any incident of fraud."