The trial of a 48-year-old Seymour man accused of ineligible voting four times has been set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 11.
Miguel A. Aguirre, who is a legal permanent resident with a valid Social Security number, faces a Level 6 felony for ineligible voting in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by Trooper Andrew Mitchell.
A Level 6 felony, punishable by six months to two and a half years upon conviction.
He was arrested in November following an investigation into his voting record by the Indiana State Police and Indiana Department of Homeland Security. That probe began in March 2017.
The investigation began when Aguirre and his wife, Deborah, requested Miguel Aguirre be removed from the county’s voter registration list from Jackson County Voter Registration clerk Deseree McKain-Haurez.
Jackson County Clerk Amanda Lowery said requests to revoke registrations are rare.
“Because it doesn’t happen very often, Deseree asked them why they wanted to cancel his voter registration,” said Lowery, who chairs the county’s election board.
Lowery said Deborah Aguirre told McKain-Haurez that Miguel Aguirre no longer wanted to receive jury duty notifications.
“He thought by canceling his voter registration, it would take him out of the jury pool,” Lowery said.
Jury pools are selected in part by voter registration, but not exclusively.
McKain-Haurez gave the couple paperwork to fill out when Deborah Aguirre said Miguel could not serve on a jury.
“At that point, Deseree is engaging in small talk, and his wife said, ‘He can’t even serve on a jury. He’s not a United States citizen,’” Lowery said.
That prompted Lowery and McKain-Haurez to research Aguirre’s voting history. They discovered through voting records that he had voted in four general elections since 2004 and as recent as 2016. They also found the Jackson 3 North precinct book Aguirre signed confirming he had voted, Lowery said.
At that point, Lowery said her office then had an obligation to contact authorities.
“When we realized that he truly was voting when he shouldn’t be, at that point, we had to turn the information over to the prosecutor because it is a crime,” she said. “We’re here to maintain the integrity of the voting process and the registration process.”
Aguirre’s voter registration shows he registered to vote on July 2, 2001. Requirements to register to vote are being 18 years of age, residing in the precinct for 30 or more days and being a U.S. citizen.
“He signed his name right under the part where it says you are subject to the penalty of perjury if your registration is not correct,” Lowery said. “As far as we can tell, he submitted a valid voter registration form in 2001.”
Lowery said there would have been no reason to question Aguirre’s form at the time of registration.
“He has just gone to the polling site, presented his ID and voted,” she said.
This is the first case of ineligible voting Jackson County has ever had, Lowery said.
“To my knowledge, this is it, at least since I’ve been in office,” she said. Lowery was elected in 2010.
Nicole Alberico, media relations with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, said it is hard to determine if Aguirre’s status as a permanent legal resident would be affected if convicted.
She said deportation for legal permanent residents can occur when a violent crime is committed, but steps include conviction and an appeal process.
The case would then be moved to an immigration court, where a federal immigration judge would make a final determination, Alberico said. She acknowledged decisions can vary based on the situation.
“It really is a case-by-case basis,” Alberico said.
Aguirre declined comment for this story.