Election Fraud Cases
Jonathan Meade West, Sr., of Hayes, was charged with a felony for attempting to cast two ballots in the 2020 general election. West first voted absentee at the Gloucester County Voter Register's office. He then returned four days later and tried to cast a second ballot. He was stopped from casting a second ballot when the election worker checked his information using a back-up to the VERIS (Virginia Election Registration Information System) system since it was not working that day. He was convicted of an amended misdemeanor charge of obtaining services under false pretense after attempting to vote twice. West, a self-described "unabashed conservative," was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 12 months, fined $500, and ordered to pay $96 in court costs.
Source: https://herit.ag/375VNDP, https://herit.ag/3f2SNN0
Lauren C. Peabody, of Virginia Beach, worked as a campaign staffer for the GOP candidate in the 2nd Congressional District of VA. In that role, she signed off on petition signatures, that she did not witness, to get Shaun Brown, a Democrat, on the ballot as an Independent in order to take away votes from the Democratic nominee (her boss's main opponent). The signatures were forgeries of deceased individuals and former residents. She was charged with two counts of election fraud and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of "willful neglect of election duty." She received a 12-month suspended sentence based on a year of good behavior and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Cassandra Ritter, a felon convicted on heroin distribution charges, cast a ballot despite being an ineligible voter due to her prior conviction. Ritter pleaded guilty and received a suspended two-year prison sentence and two years of supervised probation.
Shaun Brown, a candidate for the Virginia 2nd Congressional District, was removed from the ballot in the lead-up to the 2018 election after a judge ruled that signatures on the petition to get her on the ballot had been forged. Brown, who ran and lost as a Democrat in 2016, was running as an Independent. Democrats in Virginia filed the suit against Brown, claiming that Republican incumbent Representative Scott Taylor's campaign hoped to get Brown on the ballot to bolster Taylor's own re-election chances. All of the petition signatures submitted by Taylor's staff were thrown out due to errors and forgeries. Brown appealed, but the Virginia Supreme Court upheld her removal from the ballot. An investigation into the alleged forgeries by Taylor campaign staff is ongoing. In the midst of the election drama, Brown was convicted on unrelated charges that she defrauded a federal program intended to serve summer meals to children.
Source: https://herit.ag/3l3HxUq, https://herit.ag/3xbrxC6, https://herit.ag/3zGQyXI
Richard Douglas Dohmen, of James City County, committed voter fraud when he attempted to cast ballots for both himself and his dead wife in a 2018 state election. Dohmen was charged with forging public records and making false statements on required forms, and pleaded guilty to making false statements on required forms. He was sentenced to 1 year in the penitentiary, 3 years of unsupervised probation, and was ordered to pay a $458 fine.
Source: Case Number: CR19028447-00, https://herit.ag/3x2tbWI
Vafalay Massaquoi pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying voter registration applications and two counts of forging a public record. While working for New Virginia Majority, a liberal advocacy group, Massaquoi filed voter applications for completely made-up Alexandria residents. An Alexandria official noticed the voter applications were all filled out in the same handwriting and turned the documents over to the authorities. Massaquoi was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for each count. His sentences were set to run concurrently and will be suspended pending his good behavior. He was also sentenced to 500 hours of community service.
Source: https://herit.ag/373qeut, https://herit.ag/3rB1R0L
Andrew Spieles pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his submission of eighteen fraudulent voter registrations in connection with the 2016 presidential election. While working for Harrisonburg Votes, a voter registration organization affiliated with the Democratic Party, Spieles falsified voter registration information. In some cases, he registered deceased individuals. In others, he fabricated information about residents so he could submit applications without their approval. Spieles was sentenced to 100 days' imprisonment.
Source: https://herit.ag/3rAyATU, https://herit.ag/3y9dz5b
Mary P. Taylor was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of "communicating false information to registered voters." Taylor, a critic of the Hampton school board, designed a fake website registered in the name of Ann Stephens Cherry, a candidate for the board, which endorsed incumbent Martha Mugler. On the website, Taylor posted a fake election date that fell one week after the real election. The Judge sentenced Taylor to 100 hours of community service and imposed a $1,000 fine.
Source: https://herit.ag/3i9HGUB, https://herit.ag/3iQEb4t
When Billy Mills ran for sheriff in Nelson County, he submitted a candidate qualification form with an address in that county. It was later uncovered that Mills did not live at the address he provided and was not a resident of Nelson County. This was a clear violation of state law that requires all members of government to be residents in the district over which they preside. Mills was originally charged with a Class 5 felony. As part of a plea deal, it was reduced to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to six month suspended sentence.
Gregory John Briehl, of Albemarle, a convicted felon and an ineligible voter, was convicted of making a false statement on his voting records. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay an $86 fine.
Source: https://herit.ag/2URz6kg, Case Number: GC15007564-00
Stephen Hales, of Albemarle, a convicted felon and an ineligible voter, was convicted of voting in a 2014 state election. Hales plead guilty to charges of providing a false statement on a required form and wrongful voting. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay an $86 fine.
Source: https://herit.ag/373gEb1, Case Number: GC15007564-00
Jennifer Derrebery, of Bassett, pleaded guilty to felony counts of election fraud and perjury after she produced hundreds of fraudulent signatures on a petition to get Newt Gingrich on the ballot for the Republican presidential nomination. She received a 10-year suspended sentence and five years' probation, and she was required to pay $1,266 in court costs.
Source: bit.ly/2tNyIQA, bit.ly/2tNTKyL, Augusta County Circuit Court, Cases CR13000083-00, CR13000084-00
Adam Ward, an employee of the Gingrich presidential campaign, pleaded guilty to 36 counts of voter fraud, as well as perjury after admitting that he forged signatures during the drive to get Gingrich on the Virginia primary ballot. Out of 11,000 signatures collected by Ward, 4,000 could not be confirmed.
Michael Anthony Harris, a convicted felon, pleaded guilty to illegally registering to vote and subsequently voting in the 2008 election. Harris was sentenced to four days in jail.
Source: https://herit.ag/3i5Ik5i, https://herit.ag/3l1N4Ll
Feda Morton, a former congressional candidate, pleaded guilty to falsifying a campaign document after admitting that she convinced friends to sign a petition to get a favored political candidate on the ballot for a 2011 election. Submitting the signatures for notarization, Morton attested to having personally witnessed the signatures even though she hadn't. Morton was sentenced to probation.
Sheila Peterson, of Chesterfield County, Virginia, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, a charge that had been reduced from a felony count of making a false statement on an election form. Peterson, a convicted felon, certified that she was eligible to vote on a registration form for the 2008 election. Peterson, who was incarcerated prior to sentencing because of a failed drug test, was sentenced to time served.
James Halfaday pleaded guilty to a felony election fraud after admitting that he lied about his residency while running for Charlottesville City Council. Halfaday received a five-year prison sentence, with all but 60 days suspended. He was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service.
Bernard Pace pleaded guilty to charges of election fraud and forgery. Pace voted in the 2008 election despite being a felon and therefore ineligible. He was sentenced to a five year suspended prison term.
Source: https://herit.ag/376jBaG, https://herit.ag/3rDnHAG
Bonnie Nicholson, of Louisa County, Virginia, pleaded guilty to two counts of election fraud in 2010. She illegally registered to vote and cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election, despite the fact that she was ineligible due to a felony conviction. Nicholson was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, which was suspended.
Source: https://herit.ag/3f2SLom, https://herit.ag/3BLKw9Z, https://herit.ag/3iSpRse
Former Appalachia mayor Ben Cooper and 14 others were convicted of voter fraud after conspiring to manipulate the 2004 elections in his town by buying the votes of residents, offering them cigarettes, beer, and pork rinds. He and his supporters also stole absentee ballots from the mail. This was the largest voter fraud conspiracy to date in Virginia. Cooper was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the term was suspended after he served two years in jail and another two years in electronic home monitoring detention. Most of the other 14 defendants received suspended sentences or house arrest.
Source: https://herit.ag/3x2GfLT, https://herit.ag/2WmomuF