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MCAO: Wickenburg woman charged with falsifying town recall petitions

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 14:44:21-04

WICKENBURG, AZ — A Wickenburg woman has been charged after reportedly submitting town recall petitions with fraudulent information, including a signature from a dead person.

In Maricopa County Superior Court documents filed this the week, Paula Hartwell, 72, has been charged with forgery and presenting false documents. Investigators say in June of 2018, Hartwell submitted a recall petition to the Wickenburg town clerk.

The petition was to recall a member of the town council.

An examination of the signatures "identified at least one signature of a voter who died before the date of the signature," according to court documents.

A further investigation reportedly revealed altered signature dates.

Investigators say Hartwell began circulating the petition in 2017 but did not get enough signatures in the time allowed. She then altered the signature and combined them with new signatures she obtained in 2018.