LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man is accused of forging his dead wife’s signature on her ballot, mailing it in and then claiming it had been stolen, prosecutors said. The I-Team was first to report that man is now facing charges.
Donald “Kirk” Hartle, 55, faces two charges relating to the 2020 election, records showed. The charges come after an investigation from the Secretary of State’s Office, which investigates any voter fraud allegations in connection with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
Rosemarie Hartle, of Las Vegas, died in 2017 at age 52 from breast cancer, Kirk Hartle, told the I-Team in November. A ballot for Rosemarie was issued in October and later received by the county, but Kirk said the ballot never came to his house. The I-Team found even though Rosemarie died in 2017, her name appeared on the active voter list.
Rosemarie’s signature matched what Clark County officials had on records, officials said, and the vote was counted.
“That is pretty sickening to me to be honest with you,” Kirk Hartle told the I-Team in an interview last year. “It was disbelief. It made no sense to me, but it lent some credence to what you’ve been hearing in the media about these possibilities and now it makes me wonder how pervassive is this?”
“Have you started to think about the possibilities here?” the I-Team’s David Charns asked Kirk Hartle in November. “If it was taken in the mail? If it was taken from your mailbox? Have you started to think about that?”
“I’ve wondered about how that could have happened,” he said.
“Do you have any speculation?” Charns asked. Hartle laughed and said, “I don’t.”
Rosemarie Hartle’s ballot was one of two cited by Nevada Republicans and national party leaders as evidence of voter fraud in Nevada. A state ballot review from the Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year found 10 possibly deceased voters had ballots cast in their names, a report said, citing data from the Office of Vital Statistics.
Five people in Clark County voted twice, officials said last year. The allegations, including a handful of possible double votes, are all under investigation. Earlier this year, state Republican Party leaders voted to censure Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, accusing her of failing to fully investigate allegations of fraud.
“How did the forged signature pass [Clark County’s] signature verification machine?” the Nevada GOP tweeted in November regarding the case. “And this is isn’t the only case of a deceased person voting in NV.”
In another tweet after the election, the state Republican party wrote, “Kirk was surprised to find that his late wife Rosemarie, a Republican, cast a ballot in this year’s election despite having passed away in 17. The media needs to understand we are finding concrete cases of voter irregularities that they must expose.”
During a press conference a week after the election, state party leaders and representatives for former President Donald Trump’s campaign cited two examples of deceased voters having ballots cast. One of the cases cited was Hartle’s. The other appears to have not been intentional, the I-Team confirmed last year.
Hartle faces charges of voting using the name of another person and voting more than once in the same election. If found guilty, Hartle faces up to four years in prison and a fine of $5,000 for each charge.
He is due in court on Nov. 18.
“We will be pleased to respond to the allegations in court,” Hartle’s attorney, David Chesnoff, said in an email.
“Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”
“Our office takes voter fraud very seriously,” Cegavske said in a statement. “Our securities division worked hard to bring this case to a close.”
Hartle is the chief financial officer at Ahern Rentals, which hosted a rally for former President Donald Trump last September and was cited for violating coronavirus protocols. The umbrella company is scheduled to host a QAnon conference this weekend at the Ahern Hotel off the Las Vegas Strip.
The Nevada GOP did not respond to a request for comment.