MANCHESTER, N.H. — A Massachusetts man charged with voter fraud for casting ballots in the first-in-the-nation primary and presidential elections wanted to vote in New Hampshire because he didn’t believe his vote would count in the Bay State, according to a prosecutor.
Lorin C. Schneider Jr., who is in his mid-60s and lives in Carver, Mass., pleaded guilty in Hillsborough County Superior Court North to one felony and two misdemeanor charges of wrongful voting.
He was given a one- to three-year state prison sentence, suspended for five years on the condition of good behavior. He also must pay a $5,000 fine, plus a 24 percent penalty assessment.
As a result of the convictions, Schneider loses his right to vote in New Hampshire, even if he is qualified, pursuant to the state Constitution, according to a news release issued by Attorney General Joseph A. Foster.
By law, a voter may only vote in the town, ward or unincorporated place in which he is domiciled.
Schneider voted in the Ward 9 polling place in Manchester on Nov. 6, 2012, during the presidential election and also voted there in the 2012 presidential primary election, when he took a Democratic ballot.
He also voted in Ward 9 during the 2008 presidential election.
Schneider, whose family traces its Manchester roots to the 1800s, said he is a retired freelance writer and a professional Santa Claus. He would not discuss the charges on Monday.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. LaBonte said Schneider told an investigator that he wanted to vote in New Hampshire’s primary, because he didn’t believe his vote in Massachusetts would “count.” LaBonte said Schneider voted only in New Hampshire in presidential election years — and not in Massachusetts — and did not vote here in mid-term elections.
Schneider cast the ballots in Manchester even though he has lived in Massachusetts for more than two decades.
Authorities said someone recognized Schneider and knew he had moved away from Manchester more than 20 years ago. The city clerk’s office provided investigators with documentation showing he was registered to vote in Ward 9 and that his name was crossed on the voter checklist on Election Day. He was registered as a Democrat, LaBonte said.
Gloria Pilotte, the longtime moderator of Ward 9, said she has lived in the ward her entire life and never heard of Schneider. She said the report of Schneider’s fraudulent voting must have come from someone who recognized him. Neither she nor her workers reported Schneider.
She noted that Schneider’s convictions involve some votes that took place before the state’s voter ID law went into full effect. Now it would be more difficult for bogus voters to succeed, she said.
“If somebody really wants to, they can try,” Pilotte said. “They may get away with it. They may not.”
Schneider was registered to vote with an address of 58 Brunelle Ave. attached to his name on city voter registration records.
LaBonte said he does not know who Schneider voted for and said that would be personal information and something not relative to the conviction.
Distributed by MCT Information Services