While appearing at a rally to kick-off the campaign for an Ohio state constitutional amendment dealing with voters' rights, MSNBC host Al Sharpton and some Democrats honored Melowese Richardson, a former poll worker who was convicted in 2013 of voter fraud, Cincinnati.com reported Friday.
Richardson admitted voting twice for Obama in 2012, and was indicted for voting at least six times. She was also charged last year of illegal voting in the 2008 and 2011 elections.
She was sentenced to five years in prison, but was released and placed on probation after Democratic activists demanded a "fairer" term, Cincinnati.com said.
Apparently, upon noticing Richardson at the rally, held at the Word of Deliverance Church in Forest Park, Cincinnati National Action Network President Bobby Hilton called Richardson on stage for a "welcome home," where Sharpton hugged her.
The incident sparked outrage from Republicans on Twitter.
"How can you conduct a voting rights rally when you celebrate a person convicted of a voting felony?" asked Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou. "Do local Democrats applaud a convicted felon for committing voter fraud, because they did at this rally."
"We did not celebrate or applaud a convicted felon," Hilton countered. "We congratulated a lady with a health issues coming home to take care of her sick sister."
Democrat Party leaders seemed happy Richardson was out of jail, but claimed they did not approve of her actions.
"I am very glad the county prosecutor and judge reconsidered and got her out of jail, but she is not a hero," said Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke. "What she did was criminal conduct and was particularly problematic because of her role as a poll worker."
"There is some validity that the sentence was too harsh," added Hamilton County Democratic Party Executive Director Caleb Faux. "But I don't see how you can hold her up as an example of somebody to be proud of. What she did was reprehensible."
Richardson was convicted of four counts of illegal voting, and has previously been convicted of threatening to kill a witness in a criminal case against her brother, stealing, drunken driving and beating someone in a bar fight, Cincinnati.com said.
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