Beaufort County man gets probation for illegal votes in 2012, 2016

Published 6:49 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Haitian-born man living in Washington was sentenced to a year of probation and a $25 fine for voting illegally.

Dieudonne Soifils, 72, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Court Judge Louise Wood Flanagan, according to a press release from the office of Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Soifils voted in the 2012 and 2016 General Elections — elections in which the offices of president, vice president and members of the U.S. Representatives were elected.

Soifils registered to vote in Beaufort County on Sept. 17, 1999, but did not vote until the 2012 election, and not again until 2016, according to Kellie Harris Hopkins, director of Beaufort County Board of Elections.

“At no other time has he voted here,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said Soifils came into the local Board of Elections and requested he be removed from the voter rolls on April 24, 2017, after the U.S. Attorney’s investigation began.

“He did come in. When he came in and removed himself, he said he didn’t realize (he could not vote),” Hopkins said. “From what I understand, he was here legally, he just wasn’t a citizen.”

Hopkins said she was not certain where he registered to vote, because in 1999, the voter registration forms found at DMV, Department of Social Services and the Board of Election were identical and there is no way to determine where they were filled out. Registration requires voters to sign the form, swearing to U.S. citizenship under penalty of perjury, which is stated on the form.

“In the early 2000s, they added the check box to draw attention to it,” Hopkins said.

Current voter registration forms require signers to mark a checkbox attesting to citizenship.

The case was investigated by the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force in the Eastern District of North Carolina, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, and assisted by Enforcement Removal Operations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other agencies, according to the press release. The investigation into voter fraud in the state of North Carolina is ongoing.