OSSIPEE — A Madison man accused of voting in the 2016 election in Madison and Massachusetts has been indicted by a Carroll County Superior Court grand jury.
Charles Eugene Cartier Jr., 81, was charged with voting in both Madison and Attleboro, Mass., during the November 2016 general election, Deputy Attorney General Jane E. Young announced in June.
The charge is a Class B felony for violating RSA 659:34-a.
State Statute 659 Election Procedures, Prohibited Acts, Section 34a (Wrongful Voting) states that a person is subject to penalties for voter fraud if he or she purposely or knowingly makes a false material statement regarding his or her qualifications as a voter to an election officer or submits a voter registration form containing false material information regarding his or her qualifications as a voter.
Class B felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine. The New Hampshire Constitution says a person who commits "a willful violation of the election laws" loses the right to vote unless restored by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
On July 17, Cartier pleaded not guilty and waived his arraignment. He was released on personal recognizance bail.
The grand jury indicted Cartier on Oct. 18.
The indictment signed by New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Chong Yen says that on Nov. 8, 2016, "Charles Cartier, Jr. knowingly checked in at the checklist in Madison, New Hampshire, and cast a New Hampshire ballot on which one or more federal or statewide offices or statewide questions were listed and also cast a ballot in the same election year in 2016 in Massachusetts, where one or more federal or statewide offices or statewide questions were listed."
The arrest warrant written by New Hampshire Attorney General's Office investigator Richard Tracy says that Cartier's name was flagged by an interstate crosscheck system that was authorized by state law in June 2016.
Records from Attleboro confirmed for Tracy that records indicated Cartier voted three days early in the 2016 election.
Tracy said Cartier filled out the voting registration in Madison, which was provided by Madison Town Clerk Michael Brooks. The registration requires one to sign a statement acknowledging that providing false information is a crime and also to acknowledging that the person cannot vote in any other city or town or any other state.
Brooks said records show that Cartier voted Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, which was Election Day.
Tracy first made contact with Cartier in January.
Cartier told the investigator that he's lived in Madison for years and also owns a home in Attleboro, where his daughter now lives. Tracy said during a phone conversation, Cartier stopped abruptly and told Tracy he had "lied" in a prior conversation.
In the prior conversation Cartier reportedly said he registered to vote for the first time in a long time in New Hampshire for the 2016 election. He said he hadn't voted in over a decade and couldn't remember the last time he voted in Attleboro.
"Cartier proceeded to explain that he has voted in Attleboro, Mass., all along and that he only voted one time in New Hampshire, that being Nov. 8, 2016," said Tracy.
"Cartier Jr. stated that he owns property in both states and someone told him that he could vote in New Hampshire since he owns property in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire."
He admitted to voting in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the investigator said.
During a formal interview at the N.H. Attorney General's Office in Concord, Cartier said he had retired and moved to Madison in 2000. When asked if he read the legal paperwork on the registration form, he said, "No, I just signed it."
According to Tracy, Cartier said a neighbor "convinced" him that voting in New Hampshire was OK because he pays $8,000 in property taxes.
Cartier said the only race he voted in was the presidential race.
Carroll County Superior Court Judge Ignatius, on Sept. 3, granted the prosecution an extension to indict Cartier. (After Cartier was charged June 19 the state was supposed to indict him within 90 days.) The original indictment deadline was Sept. 17; however, Chong Yen wasn't aware that the grand jury wasn't meeting until Sept. 20. Cartier's attorney, Timothy Harrington of Shaheen & Gordon, with offices in New Hampshire and Maine, agreed to the motion for an extension.
A dispositional conference in Cartier's case is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. in Carroll County Superior Court. The target date for speedy trial is July 14, 2020.