WV Mail Carrier Took People’s Absentee Ballot Requests, Switched Party To GOP
West Virginia mail Carrier Thomas Cooper is facing a prison sentence after he admitted to taking people’s absentee requests and switching their choice from Democrat to Republican, according to BuzzFeedNews.
- Cooper has admitted to “attempting to defraud the residents of West Virginia of a fair election” and to destroy the mail.
- The Clerk of Pendleton County discovered that eight absentee ballot requests have been altered using a black pen, prosecutors said in a May 26 criminal complaint.
- The party registration of five requests was altered from Democrat to Republican. While the party of the other three was not altered, the request had been changed.
Cooper admitted it in late April.
- “[I did it] as a joke,” said Cooper. “[I] don’t even know them.”
- Cooper would be sentenced up to 8 years in prison, while prosecutors have agreed to have a commutation as part of the plea deal.
- “He is deeply sorry for the implications for our democratic process,” said Scott Curnutte, Cooper attorney. “It should be remembered, however, that the mail he altered were requests for ballots, not ballots themselves.”
Data from the West Virginia secretary of state indicated that Pendleton County held 2,236 votes for the primary election, including 943 Republican votes and 1,209 Democratic votes.