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A judge has declined to punish a La Crosse woman convicted of voting while ineligible, calling the case “a waste of time.”

Connie Sykes, 63, was a month from completing her probation for a 2015 felony drug conviction when she cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, according to court documents.

“I didn’t even think twice about it,” Sykes said. “I was excited to vote.”

Sykes pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of election fraud in an agreement that called for a fine to be determined by the court.

Attorney Chris Zachar said Sykes is dying of cancer and can’t even afford a telephone.

He called the law denying voting rights to people serving felony sentences “flatly unconstitutional.”

Judge Elliott Levine imposed a $518 fine for court costs, which he then vacated citing Sykes’s inability to pay.

Levine said the felony conviction “is punishment enough” and that people on probation wanting to participate in elections is “a pro-social thing.”

“This is an enormous waste of time for the court system,” Levine said.

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Reporter

Rhymes with Lubbock. La Crosse Tribune reporter and data geek. Covers energy, transportation and the environment, among other things.

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