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3News Investigates: Shaker Heights attorney accused of voting twice in multiple elections found guilty

James Saunders was accused of voting twice in the 2020 and 2022 elections.

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Shaker Heights attorney accused of voting twice in multiple general elections has been found guilty of committing election fraud.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced on Tuesday that a Cuyahoga County grand jury declared 56-year-old James Saunders guilty on two counts of election fraud after he was accused of voting twice in both the 2020 and 2022 general elections. According to an investigation, Saunders voted in Ohio and Florida during the November 3, 2020, general election by first casting an early, in-person ballot at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Ohio before the election in late October, before proceeding to cast a ballot in person while in Florida on the day of the election. 

As for the Nov. 8, 2022, general election, Saunders allegedly cast a Florida mail-in ballot before casting an in-person ballot while in Ohio, with his signature consistent and matching all previous ballots. Additionally, the investigation revealed that he had previously voted twice in the 2014 and 2016 general election, although neither instance was eligible for prosecution due to the statute of limitations.

3News has confirmed Saunders was not affiliated with any party in Ohio but was registered as a Republican in Florida, where he had an address in Pompano Beach. A former lawyer for the IRS and U.S. Department of the Treasury, Federal Election Commission records show he has made multiple donations over the last several years to former President Donald Trump's campaigns as well as other GOP-linked causes.

“Mr. Saunders is the poster child for voter fraud. He thought he could outsmart the system, but today’s verdict proves he was wrong,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Judge Santoli’s verdict and remanding of this defendant sends a stern message that voter fraud will not be tolerated.”

Saunders will be sentenced on Monday at 10 a.m. He faces up to three years in prison.

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