Election Fraud Cases
While serving as a deputy circuit clerk, Rhonda Dowdy changed the address of a non-resident to an in-county address so that the individual could vote in a local election in which Dowdy's uncle was a candidate for sheriff. In exchange for manipulating voter records, Dowdy received a pledge that the voter would vote for a particular candidate. Dowdy resigned from her post and pleaded guilty to a criminal information charge.
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Mack Charles West, Jr. pleaded guilty to misdemeanor voting out of district of legal domicile in the 2013 mayoral race in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. When West was arrested on January 28, 2015, he was on probation on a felony shoplifting charge. The voting fraud charge violated that probation, and West was booked into jail. On March 12, 2015, in Forrest County Circuit Court, West received a suspended sentence of six months and was fined $200 and ordered to pay $220.84 in court costs.
Mamie Johnson pleaded guilty to voting out of district of legal domicile for the 2013 Hattiesburg mayoral election. Johnson received a suspended sentence of six months and was ordered to pay a $200 fine and $220.84 in court costs.
Alethea Michelle Shaw, Carmon Yvette Anderson, and Joseph Lee Anderson each pleaded guilty to voting out of district of legal domicile. Shaw voted in a general election on June 4, 2013, in Hattiesburg even though her legal residence was outside Hattiesburg city limits. Carmon Yvette Anderson and Joseph Lee Anderson voted in a special election on September 24, 2013. Their legal residence was in Moselle, also outside of Hattiesburg. They each received a suspended sentence of six months, were fined $200, and ordered to pay $220.84 in court costs.
Cobby Williams pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges in connection with misconduct surrounding the 2013 City of Canton elections. Williams went to the home of Pamela Walker with the intent to register her to vote for the election, and insisted that she fill out a registration form even after she informed him that she was a convicted felon and ineligible to vote. Williams then submitted these completed forms to the county clerk's office. Williams was sentenced to a five-year suspended term, during which time he will be on supervised probation.
In 2013, Kimberly Readus, an Executive Committee member of the Canton City Elections, was convicted of stealing a ballot box. She was fined $950, sentenced to 30 days of jail time suspended, and placed on probation.
Source: bit.ly/2tcPjNi, bit.ly/2t2RE21
Terrance Watts, a convicted felon and therefore ineligible to vote, pleaded guilty to two counts of voter fraud for swearing in an affidavit on an absentee ballot that he was eligible to vote in Madison County and for voting in two elections. He was sentenced to two consecutive five-year prison terms.
NAACP official Lessadolla Sowers was convicted on 10 counts of fraudulently casting absentee ballots for voting in the names of 10 people, four of them deceased. She received a five-year sentence for each count, to be served concurrently.
Kenny Ray Bowen and Billy Street both pleaded guilty to two counts of voter fraud in connection with their involvement in a vote-buying scheme surrounding the 2007 Benton County election. They were the last of 16 individuals who either pleaded guilty or were found guilty of voter fraud in an elaborate electioneering operation. Both men were sentenced to five years, with four-and-a-half years suspended, six months to serve under house arrest, and four-and-a-half years under post-release supervision. Bowen and Street were also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund.
Source: bit.ly/2f5QIiT, bit.ly/2eEpVtk
Jasper Buggs, Sr., James Bullock, and Ronnie Wilkerson pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges in connection with their involvement in a vote-buying scheme surrounding the 2007 Benton County election. Buggs pleaded guilty to two counts of voter fraud, Bullock pleaded guilty to five counts of voter fraud, and Wilkerson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. All three men were sentenced to five years, with four years suspended and one year to serve under house arrest on each count, all the counts to run concurrently. They were also sentenced to four years of post-release supervision and were ordered to pay a $1,000 fine to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund.
Source: bit.ly/2f5QIiT, bit.ly/2eEpVtk
Jerry Huck Childers, Cooper Epps, David Massey, Arnold Rooker, Sr., and Stanley Maurice Warren all pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges in connection with their involvement in a vote-buying scheme surrounding the 2007 Benton County election. They were part of ring of 16 individuals who either pleaded guilty or were found guilty of voter fraud in an elaborate electioneering operation.
Source: bit.ly/2eEpVtk, bit.ly/2f5QIiT, bit.ly/2sOC8Cx
Benton County supervisor Tate King was convicted of committing voter fraud after he paid people to vote for him in the 2007 primary and runoff elections. Eleven others who were also under investigation in connection with this matter have also either pleaded guilty or been convicted. He was sentenced to one year in prison, two years on house arrest, and two years of supervised release, in addition to a $5,000 fine. Norton received three years' supervised probation, and Massey received one year of house arrest and two years of supervised release.
Source: bit.ly/2e6hL0o, bit.ly/2f5Sgth, bit.ly/2tLjMUy
Larry "Tip" Massey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit voter fraud in connection with his involvement in a 2007 Benton County election vote-buying scheme. He was sentenced to five years in prison, although three of those years were suspended. He will serve two years in prison and another two under supervised probation.
Source: bit.ly/2eZ77I6, bit.ly/2f5Sq3R
James Lester Thompson of Madison County, Mississippi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of voting by an unqualified person. He was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service and six months' unsupervised probation.
Clint Moffitt, candidate for Benton County Sheriff, and Ada Tucker were convicted of conspiracy to commit voter fraud in the 2007 primary and runoff elections. Tucker was sentenced to five years, with the first year in prison, second year under house arrest, and three years under supervised release. Moffitt received two years in prison, one under house arrest, and two years of supervised release. Both were ordered to pay $5,000 in fines.
Source: bit.ly/2f5Sq3R, bit.ly/2eEo47B
Jerry Kennamore, a 2009 New Albany mayoral candidate, pleaded guilty to forging the name of his daughter as an attesting witness on an absentee ballot during the May 2009 Democratic primary. Kennamore's plea was held in abeyance pending completion of five years of unsupervised probation and payment of a $1,000 fine plus court costs.
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In a civil case filed by the federal government, Ike Brown, former Chairman of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee and Superintendent of Democratic Primary Elections, was found to have violated Section Two of the Voting Rights Act through racially motivated manipulation of ballots. Brown, who started chairing the Commission in 2000, obtained and improperly counted defective absentee ballots, and allowed for improper "assistance" of voters to ensure that white political candidates lost and black candidates won. He was permanently enjoined from engaging in such conduct in the future, and an independent administrator was appointed to ensure compliance.
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Martha Gardner pleaded guilty to one count of voter fraud in connection with absentee ballot misconduct during the 2005 Houston mayoral Democratic primary. Witnesses alleged that Gardner had come to them with absentee ballots they did not request and marked the ballots for them. Gardner was initially indicted on 37 counts of voter fraud. A judge imposed a five-year suspended sentence and put Gardner on 30 months of probation. Gardner was also ordered to pay $391.50 in court costs, $100 of which would go to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund.
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A Tallahatchie County jury found William Greg Eason guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud and eight counts of voter fraud in connection with his work on Jerome Little's campaign to be District Five Supervisor for Tallahatchie County in a 2003 run-off election. Eason promised items of value (beer and money) to induce people to vote fraudulently by absentee ballot. Eason was sentenced to serve one year in prison for conspiracy to commit voter fraud, and a second year-long sentence plus seven concurrent one-year sentences for the eight counts of voter fraud. Eason's imprisonment totaled two years. His conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals of Mississippi.
Source: bit.ly/2fm3LvF, bit.ly/2fzHb85
Jerry Lyles, Jr., a candidate for District 1 Supervisor in Adams County for the 2004 election, pleaded guilty to one count of completing a voter registration application for a voter in the wrong district. Lyles was sentenced to one year of probation, and at the end of that year his record was expunged.
Source: bit.ly/2eZdOKa, bit.ly/2f5TyED
Minnie Saulsberry pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to commit voter fraud and voter fraud after she traded beer, gas, and cash for votes in a run-off election for Tallahatchee County supervisor.
Source: bit.ly/2sq5V6V, bit.ly/2sTHlwy, bit.ly/2rRa9Wo
Elberta Brown, Leon Hunt, and Tobe Jackson pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted bribery in connection with their involvement in a vote-buying scheme surrounding a 2001 special election for Benton County Sheriff. All three engaged in vote-buying by offering $30 to individuals in an attempt to influence them to vote for Steven A. Thompson, a candidate in that election. Three of the individuals who received the money were undercover law enforcement officers. The investigations indicated that they tried to bribe upwards of 50 people on election day. All three faced a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $3,000 fine.
Source: bit.ly/2fjtM0x, bit.ly/2t2l3sZ
Calvin McFarland, an incumbent running for re-election to the Wilkinson County Board of Supervisors, was convicted on two counts relating to illegally signing absentee ballots. McFarland, a Democrat, lost in the primary, and after a lengthy series of runoffs and challenges, was indicted along with 13 other then-current and former county officials. McFarland was charged with six counts of falsely signing names to ballots, and was convicted of two. One of them charged McFarland with signing a ballot in the name of 'Lottie James,' and then falsely attesting that James' signature was valid. For each charge, McFarland was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. One of the prison sentences was suspended.
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Sandra Sewell was convicted on voter fraud charges stemming from her 1991 efforts to help Calvin McFarland fraudulently win re-election for a seat on the Wilkinson County Board of Supervisors. Sewell notarized fraudulent absentee ballots in the race. Sewell was convicted on eight counts related to the fraud and ordered to serve five years in prison and pay a $2,000 fine. Sewell, an attorney, was also disbarred.
Cory Ferreaz, of Hattiesburg, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegally voting outside his legal district. Ferreaz sought to run for state representative for District 102 in 2017. To run, he filed paperwork attesting to having been a resident of Hattiesburg, part of Forrest County, for two years. However, Ferreaz admitted to voting in Lowndes County in 2015 despite not residing there. He was given a six month suspended sentence, and was ordered to pay court costs, a $200 fine, and a $200 assessment to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
Cary Johnson, the former Canton Fire Chief, bought votes using money and beer in his 2017 race for fire chief. Johnson was indicted on three counts of voter fraud, but as part of a plea deal, he plead guilty to one count and was admitted to a pre-trial diversion program. Johnson was given one year to complete the program in order to avoid a felony conviction.
Source: bit.ly/2MdJLzR, bit.ly/2YJ6Ukr
Jennifer Robinson, of Canton, falsely registered for an absentee ballot and then voted in 2017 municipal elections. She was charged with multiple counts of voter fraud and voting by an unqualified person. As part of a plea deal, she was admitted to a pre-trial diversion program.
Source: bit.ly/2MdJLzR, bit.ly/2Kvjs6f, bit.ly/2MZ68J8
Andrew Grant, a city alderman in Canton, tried to buy at least one person's vote in the 2017 municipal election in which he was running. Grant was charged with four counts of voter fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit voter. Grant pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge. He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, which was suspended, and he resigned from office.
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Courtney Rainey, school board member, director of human and cultural needs in Canton, and 2019 judicial candidate, engaged in numerous illegal acts during the 2017 municipal election. Among others, she bought votes with cash and gift cards, and then attempted to intimidate one of the voters to stimy the criminal case against her. Rainey faced a litany of charges, including voter fraud, conspiracy, and witness intimidation. Rainey was convicted of voter intimidation and acquited of conspiracy, but a jury failed to deliver a verdict on the voter fraud charge, meaning Rainey likely faces another trial. She will be sentenced in September on the intimidation conviction.
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Valerie Smith, a former Canton city clerk, falsely attested to witnessing voters swear their applications before her. Smith was charged with 15 felony counts, and pleaded guilty to a charge that she violated voter registration statutes. She was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a fine and cover the costs of the investigation.
Source: bit.ly/2YH6smU, bit.ly/2KGr4lo
Donnell Robinson, of Canton, illegally reigistered and voted despite being ineligible due to prior criminal convictions. Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor voter fraud. He was sentenced to one year in county jail, which was suspended, placed on six months' probation, and ordered to pay a $250 fine.