Man used by GOP to push unfounded voter fraud claims pleads guilty to casting ballot under late wife’s name

By: - November 16, 2021 3:10 pm
push it in pull it in drag it in

Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said she was “pleased that the truth was uncovered.” (Nevada Current file photo)

Donald Kirk Hartle, a Clark County man Republicans showcased in attempts to spread misinformation and unfounded claims about massive voter fraud, pled guilty Tuesday to voting more than once during the same election.

“Though rare, voter fraud can undercut trust in our election system,” Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement Tuesday. “This particular case of voter fraud was particularly egregious because the offender continually spread inaccurate information about our elections despite being the source of fraud himself. I am glad to see Mr. Hartle being held accountable for his actions, and I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud.

The Nevada Republican Party had promoted Kirk’s story that his wife Rosemarie, who died in 2017, had cast a ballot in the 2020 election. 

They used his story to show “irregularities” to support allegations of widespread voter fraud Republicans were making without evidence. 

The media needs to understand we are finding concrete cases of voter irregularities that they must expose,” the Nevada GOP wrote on Twitter in November 2020. 

Plot twist: It was Hartle who voted under his late wife’s name.

Hartle, who is expected to appear in court Wednesday, is required to pay a $2,000 fine and will serve a one-year term of informal probation. He could potentially have his felony charge reduced to a gross misdemeanor if he stays out of trouble during that time.

The Nevada Republican Party has not commented on the guilty plea. 

Republicans ranging from former President Donald Trump, who lost in Nevada as well as the presidential election, to the Nevada Republicans, who gained numerous legislative seats in the same cycle, have pushed unfounded claims of voter fraud. 

Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in November 2020 alleging “many irregularities.”

Later, he filed another suit against the Nevada Secretary of State claiming, again without evidence, that “noncitizens may have voted.” The suit was later dropped in March. 

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, reviewed allegations and announced in April there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

In a statement Tuesday on Hartle’s guilty plea, she said she was, “pleased that the truth was uncovered.”

“I’d like to thank the criminal investigators within our Securities Division for pursuing the evidence and investigating this case,” she said. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.