Voter fraud probe suspect acquitted in Arapahoe County court

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An Arapahoe County jury last week acquitted a man of voter fraud charges, bringing to a close a 2013 voter fraud investigation that identified more than 100 suspects but produced just one conviction.

Carl Blocker had been charged with misdemeanor procuring false registrations and accused of registering voters who were not eligible to vote in Colorado. His trial and jury deliberations lasted less than two days.

Attempts to reach Blocker’s lawyer this week were unsuccessful.

Blocker and Michael Michaelis worked for a nonprofit called Work For Progress, and prosecutors said the men registered ineligible voters. Prosecutors last year dropped charges against Michaelis after they said there were questions involving some evidence in the case.

The two men were among four charged in 2013 as part of a large-scale and controversial voter fraud investigation launched by former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Gessler had identified more than 100 people he said illegally voted, but the four charged in Arapahoe County were the only people in Colorado to face charges.

Just one of the four, Vitaliy B. Grabchenko, a Polish national who registered to vote despite being ineligible, pleaded guilty last year to procuring false registration, a misdemeanor. He received a two-year deferred sentence and was ordered to complete 48 hours of community service. He will also be on supervised probation for two years.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Michaelis and a fourth man, Tadesse Degefa.