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Associates of federal MP charged

Ms McGowan refuses to comment on the allegations.
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Federal MP Cathy McGowan’s niece and another supporter will be charged with electoral fraud in connection with votes cast in the seat of Indi at the last federal election, which saw the independent unseat Sophie Mirabella.

Ms McGowan defeated the former Liberal frontbencher in the north-east Victorian seat by just 439 votes.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) launched an investigation into 27 cases of possible voter fraud, and referred four to prosecutors in May.

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Maggie McGowan and Sophia Fuschen have since been issued with court appearance notices and will be charged with providing false or misleading information to the electoral commission and will front the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in December.

It is believed the allegations relate to enrolling to vote in the seat of Indi with false addresses, while living elsewhere.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

Ms McGowan said she would wait for the legal process to be completed before commenting further.

Ms Mirabella, who has since been preselected to run against Ms McGowan at the next federal election, was unavailable for comment.

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