LANSING – Four men who prosecutors said broke the law by illegally possessing and delivering voters’ absentee ballots in Hamtramck have been sentenced after pleading guilty to felony charges, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today.

“This is one example of why we must address all vulnerabilities in our elections so that voters can have their voice heard and their vote count on Election Day,” Johnson said. “We remain vigilant and will continue to work with local clerks, police and prosecutors to ensure we have secure and fair elections.”

Said Schuette: "The right to vote is sacred and must be protected for all American citizens. Strict enforcement of state election laws preserves the integrity of our democratic system."

Johnson’s department, local law enforcement and the attorney general investigated after the Hamtramck clerk’s office reported unauthorized people delivered multiple absentee ballots. Under Michigan law, an absentee ballot can only be returned by a member of the voter’s immediate family or a person living in the voter’s household.

Armani Asad, 34, was originally charged with 14 counts of improper possession of absentee ballots stemming from the 2013 August primary election in Hamtramck. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to one felony count of unlawful possession of an absentee ballot. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny today sentenced Asad to fines and court costs.

Salim Ahmed, 51, was originally charged with 20 counts of improper possession of absentee ballots, and Russell Mohammed, 33, was charged with six counts, again stemming from the 2013 August primary election in Hamtramck. Each pleaded guilty in September to one felony count of unlawful possession of an absentee ballot. On Wednesday, Kenny ordered Ahmed and Mohammed to pay fines and court costs.

A fourth man, Mohammed Abdur Rahman, 62, of Hamtramck, was originally charged with five counts of improper possession of an absentee ballot stemming from the 2013 August primary election in Hamtramck. He pleaded guilty in August to one felony count of improper possession of an absentee ballot, a five year felony. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Hathaway sentenced Rahman to probation Sept. 16.

“As the state’s top elections official, I’ve made securing the integrity of the ballot box a top priority,” Johnson added. “I appreciate the hard work of the Hamtramck police department investigating these crimes, and the Attorney General efforts to bring these criminals to justice. Interfering with the election process is a serious offense. Eligible voters should be able to cast their ballots with confidence that all the rules are being followed in the Nov. 4 election and beyond.”