Father investigated after voting for son

Posted at: 11/06/2012 5:00 PM
Updated at: 11/07/2012 8:46 AM
By: Gadi Schwartz and Peter St. Cyr, KOB Eyewitness News

A 4 On Your Side investigation shows an Albuquerque man casting two different ballots by posing as his 18-year-old son during early voting.

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies have confirmed they are also investigating the man.

Election workers originally raised suspicions of voter fraud after the man, who has silver hair, told them he was born in 1994.

“That info was so out of sync with what the poll worker was visually seeing,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver told KOB’s 4 On Your Side. “It really did raise that red flag.”

Under state law, voters are not required to show photo identification to cast a ballot. The only requirement is for voters to state their names, address, and date of birth.

But, election workers did not believe the man’s stated birth date.

After he voted, workers followed the suspect, later identified as Thomas Pino, to his vehicle, wrote down his license plate, and called the clerk’s office. She quickly notified Secretary of State Diane Duran.

Together, they learned that Pino was likely posing as his son. Both men are registered to the same address. Both are listed as Republicans.

A few days later, Pino turned up at a different location to vote for himself.

Pino did not realize his record had already been flagged, and he was given a provisional ballot.

After he voted at Daskalos Shopping Center, 4OYS paid him a visit at his home.

At first, he denied using his son’s name and birth date to vote.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Pino said.

He claimed his son his son had voted Monday or Tuesday last week and then returned to school in Las Cruces.

Moments after telling that story, 4OYS’s team watched as Pino’s son arrived home from New Mexico State University for a weekend visit.

“I literally just drove into town a few minutes ago,” Aaron Pino said. “I’ve been in Las Cruces at school.”

After pulling to the curb, Pino denied casting his vote in Albuquerque.

Driving back to the newsroom, Thomas Pino called to talk to Reporter Gadi Schwartz.

He said he had made a big mistake and claimed his son agreed to let him vote for him.

Pino could face serious charges, including false voting, fraudulent and double voting and falsifying election documents--all fourth degree felonies.

For now, Clerk Toulouse Oliver said she is pleased her poll workers took action immediately.

“This is exactly how we can prevent voter fraud from occurring,” Toulouse Oliver said.