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April 30, 2021

Delco man gets probation for casting dead mother's vote for Donald Trump

Bruce Bartman, 70, used an old driver's license to circumvent Pennsylvania's online voter system

A Marple Township man who illegally registered his dead mother as a Republican and cast a vote on her behalf in the 2020 presidential election has been sentenced to five years of probation, Delaware County prosecutors said.

Bruce Bartman, 70, pleaded guilty to felony counts of perjury and unlawful voting last December after investigators discovered he had successfully cast a mail-in ballot for his mother, who died 12 years ago. He also attempted to obtain a mail-in ballot for his dead mother-in-law, but the request was flagged by state officials. 

Bartman used an old driver's license number to request the mail-in ballot for his mother and sneak through Pennsylvania's Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system. He used the ballot to cast a vote for former President Donald Trump on Oct. 28. 

Bartman attempted to use his mother-in-law's social security number to obtain another ballot, but was thwarted when he falsified additional information requested by the state. 

In pleading guilty, Bartman admitted that he registered both deceased women as Republicans last August and later managed to cast an illegal vote for Trump. 

District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Bartman is the only known Delco resident to have cast a ballot for a dead person in the November election. 

Bruce BartmanSource/Delaware County D.A.'s Office

Bruce Bartman

"This criminal investigation and prosecution by my office should serve as a roadmap for meaningful reform for the Pennsylvania legislature and officials reviewing our voter systems," Stollsteimer said. "Our office has done what it can to ensure our elections are both secure and accessible but the next fight is in Harrisburg. To those reviewing voter systems, I say, 'Remove failed systems, not ballot boxes.' 

"Rather than earning national attention for efforts to restrict accessibility to voting, address the breakdown in the online voter registration systems that this defendant exploited to vote for a deceased relative."

Trump ultimately lost Pennsylvania and the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. He refused to concede defeat, instead promoting claims of widespread voter fraud that were consistently disproven and rejected by courts across the country. His role in inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 resulted in his second impeachment, but he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate. 

Trump and his allies filed at least 50 legal claims across the country that alleged voter fraud caused by improper mail-in ballots, absentee ballots counted incorrectly, improper access for poll watchers, and foreign interference — all of which were denied.

Two separate lawsuits in Pennsylvania, including one that reached the Supreme Court, were rejected after no evidence of widespread fraud was discovered.

In addition to Bartman's probation term, he will lose the right to vote for four years.