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updated: 4/28/2011 5:12 PM

Woman denies vote fraud charges

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A Grayslake woman who police say voted in nine elections despite living in this country illegally pleaded not guilty Thursday to a series of felony charges.

Maria Azada, 53, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of perjury, mutilation of election materials and tampering with voting machines.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Reginald Matthews said Azada, of the 1300 block of Osage Road, was found to be an illegal immigrant from the Philippines after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Records kept by the Lake County clerk's office show Azada voted in nine elections between 2003 and 2009, and twice claimed she was a U.S. citizen on voter-registration applications, Matthews said.

The perjury charges are based on Azada's oath that she was qualified to vote, Matthews said, and the mutilation and tampering charges involve her actual casting of ballots.

Circuit Judge Fred Foreman scheduled a trial of the case for July 5, and ordered Azada to appear in court May 26.

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