HATTON, N.D. (AP) _ The newly re-elected mayor has been charged with violating state law by delivering absentee ballots to three nursing home residents.

''I'm guilty of being a nice guy,'' Alvar Melin said. ''I wasn't aware that I was doing anything wrong.

''I didn't ask them how they voted, and I don't know how they voted. I didn't care. That wasn't my concern. I just wanted to be a good guy and bring them a ballot.''

Melin, who won his second term by defeating Lyle Haakenson 148-122 in Tuesday's election, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison and fined $1,000 if convicted of the misdemeanor.

The 70-year-old mayor violated state law when he delivered absentee ballots to three residents of Tri-County Nursing Home and returned the ballots to the city auditor's office Monday, said Traill County State's Attorney Stuart Larson.

A person delivering absentee ballots ''may not, at that time, be a candidate for any office to be voted upon by the absent voter,'' Larson said, quoting state law.

Melin, who said the incident should not affect his job as mayor, is scheduled to appear in Traill County Court on Wednesday.

Hatton, a community of about 790 residents, is about 30 miles southwest of Grand Forks.