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Published March 01, 2010, 07:18 PM

Crookston Man Back In Court For Illegal Voting

Ken Mendez voted by absentee ballot while in jail in Polk County in 2008. Now he is facing a felony charge for doing that. Because Mendez was on probation as a convicted felon for a 2006 crime...it was illegal for him to vote.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Ken Mendez walked out of the Polk County Justice Center today after his hearing was continued. His case has caused a lot of controversy in Crookston. While in jail in 2008 Mendez voted by absentee ballot. But because he was a convicted felon, that was against the law. Now Polk county wants to prosecute.

Twyla Treanor: "It appears to be a big waste of tax payers money to be spending so much time with this case. But the law is the law, so we will see how it plays out. "

Illegal voting is a felony charge, and the circumstance around this case has people asking questions about the justice system. Mendez supporters say Mendez didn't know it was illegal to vote as a convicted felon. And they questioned why he was allowed to vote in the jail if Polk county knew he was a felon in the first place.

Nik Jiran: "It's more that I know Kenney on a personal level. And I know none of us have a perfect back ground at all, by any mans. I do want to believe it, when he says he didn't know better."

Nik Jiran is one of about 25 friends that were in the courtroom to show support. While Mendez has a criminal background, they says he has turned his life around, and it's unfortunate that he is caught up in this unordinary case.

George Widman : "I know Ken Mendez as a young man and he's progressing. He is working towards a college degree, and he is on the up-swing."

Treanor: "I knew him when he was a teenager, I had him in class now and I see him doing some very positive things. So I've been supporting him ever since this incident came up. "

Mendez will be back in court next Monday.

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