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Craig Guymon is pictured debating his fellow Mitchell school board candidates before the 2012 election. (Daily Republic photo)

Craig Guymon pleads not guilty to voter fraud

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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

A Mitchell man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to voting more than once -- a felony charge -- during Mitchell's June school board election.

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Craig Guymon, 54, appeared alone in court while his attorney, Ron Volesky, of Huron, appeared telephonically.

Guymon, typically a vocal man, said only "yes, your honor" and "not guilty" during the court proceeding at the Davison County Public Safety Center.

The felony charge carries a maximum penalty upon conviction of two years in prison, a $4,000 fine or both.

Guymon is accused of voting twice -- once by absentee ballot earlier in the day on June 4 and once by regular ballot at the polling place in the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy. Absentee ballots were allowed until 3 p.m. on Election Day.

Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke received an Election Day call from Mitchell School District Business Manager Steve Culhane stating that poll workers noted Guymon's name in the poll book and later found an absentee ballot with Guymon's name.

Guymon has unsuccessfully run for school board positions multiple times, but he was not a candidate in this election. He was a supporter of candidates Rod Hall and Tara Volesky -- wife of Guymon's attorney, Ron Volesky -- but they lost in a four-way race for two seats. The winning candidates were Deb Olson and Rick Johnson.

Guymon is locally infamous for his sometimes bizarre behavior, including calling his opponents "spineless jellyfish" in a past school board debate, maintaining a website devoted to his opinions called The Book of Guymon, and sending postal mailers to all Mitchell residents claiming that Catholics are conspiring to manipulate the city.

Judge Tim Bjorkman scheduled the voter fraud case for a jury trial in August. Motions by attorneys are due by July 16. Change of plea deadline was set for July 30. Proposed instructions must be submitted by attorneys by Aug. 13.

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