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Judge tells Willmar woman to stay away from the election booth

WILLMAR -- A felony charge against Eileen Carol Klinghagen, 63, of Willmar, for knowingly voting while ineligible to cast a ballot was continued for dismissal Thursday.

In Kandiyohi County District Court, Judge David L. Mennis ordered that Klinghagen not vote while ineligible. If she complies with that one condition, the charge will be dismissed in one year.

The charge was filed after Klinghagen voted in the Nov. 4, 2008, general election in the county while she was not eligible to vote because she had been convicted of a felony and her civil rights had not been restored.

According to District Court and Tribune records, Klinghagen was originally sentenced to 21 months in prison, which was stayed, 60 days in jail, five years of probation and 15 hours of community service each week for a year in April 2005. The sentence was for a second-degree assault charge and a fleeing a peace officer charge for attempting to run over a Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy in 2003.

She was resentenced, essentially to the same sentence, in November 2006. The resentencing came after the county attorney's office appealed to the state Court of Appeals.

Klinghagen was also convicted of first-degree arson in August 2005, for attempting to burn down the rural Willmar home from where she was being evicted. The deputy involved in the assault case was attempting to serve her with eviction papers.

Court records show that she was discharged from probation and had her voting rights restored, in that case, in August 2010.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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