Election Fraud Cases
Daniel W. Reynolds pleaded guilty to three counts of absentee ballot fraud and was sentenced to two years' probation. Reynolds, the chief campaign volunteer for Commissioner Amos Newsome, participated in falsifying absentee ballots in the Dothan District 2 election between Newsome and his rival Lamesa Danzey in the summer of 2013.
Janice Lee Hart pleaded guilty to eight misdemeanor counts of attempted absentee ballot fraud in connection with misconduct while working on the 2013 campaign for District 2 City Commissioner Amos Newsome. Prosecutors charged that Hart was not present when absentee ballots were signed even though she was listed as a witness on the ballots. In the election, Newsome defeated his challenger by only 14 votes and received 119 out of the 124 absentee ballots cast. A judge sentenced Hart to 12 months in the county jail for each count, which he suspended to two years of probation for each count.
A Houston County jury found Lesa Coleman guilty of seven felony counts of absentee ballot fraud related to the 2013 election for a city commission seat. Coleman received a three year split sentence. She will serve 180 days in jail followed by three years of probation.
Olivia Lee Reynolds was convicted of 24 counts of voter fraud. While working on the 2013 campaign for her boyfriend, Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome, Reynolds filled out voters' ballots for them and told others for whom to vote. Her fraud had definite consequences: Commissioner Newsome won reelection by a mere 14 votes, losing the in-person vote by a wide margin but winning an incredible 96 percent of the absentee vote. Newsome himself faced pressure to resign as a consequence. Reynolds was sentenced to serve six months in a community corrections facility. She is appealing the conviction.
Ms. Berry pleaded guilty and received a two-year suspended sentence. The former Pike County Commissioner narrowly won--and then lost--her 2008 reelection bid when 10 absentee ballots were found to have been fraudulently cast in the election. Ms. Berry was charged with mailing an illegal absentee ballot.
Gay Nell Tinker, a former circuit clerk for Hale County, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of absentee ballot fraud after her scheme to orchestrate fraudulent absentee ballots for the benefit of multiple candidates was uncovered. She admitted to falsifying the ballots of five voters to benefit certain candidates, including her brother, Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins, and her husband, Senator Bobby Singleton (D_Greensboro).
Valada Paige Banks and Rosie Lyles pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a forged affidavit of an absentee ballot with intent to defraud. They both received 12-month suspended sentences and two years of probation and were ordered to pay court fees.
The Birmingham Office of the U.S. Attorney and the Alabama Attorney General conducted an extensive joint investigation of absentee ballot fraud allegations in Greene County in the November 1994 election. By the end of the investigation, nine defendants pleaded guilty to voter fraud and two others were found guilty by a jury. The defendants included Greene County commissioners, officials, and employees; a racing commissioner; a member of the board of education; a Eutaw city councilman; and other community leaders. The conspiracy included using an assembly line to mass produce forged absentee ballots meant to swing elections in favor of preferred candidates.
Nathaniel Gosha was convicted of 25 counts (nine felony counts of falsifying ballots and 16 counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument) of voter fraud for offering to sell absentee votes in Russell County. Another Russell County resident, Lizzie Mae Perry, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of falsifying absentee ballots and two misdemeanor counts of disclosing votes. Gosha was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 4.5 years of probation, and $2,600 in court fines. Perry was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 18 months' probation.
Melvin Lightning pleaded guilty to illegal absentee voting. Along with Evans, Lightning forged absentee ballot request forms in the name of other voters. Upon receiving the ballots, the pair took them to the named voters and obtained their signatures on the ballot envelope without telling the voters that they were signing an actual ballot. Lightning then completed and cast the ballots himself. He received a 12-month prison sentence, which was suspended in favor of 12 months' probation. His accomplice, Evans, was convicted in 1998 on seven counts of illegal absentee voting. He got a 10-year prison sentence, eight of which were suspended.
An absentee-ballot buying operation was uncovered in Winston County, Alabama, that led to the conviction of the sheriff, circuit clerk, a district judge, and several candidates for county commission and the board of education. The conspirators set out to buy absentee ballots in the 2000 Republican primary with bribes of cash, beer, and liquor. Judge Richardson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report campaign expenditures; the others pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from the operation. Bailey was sentenced to three years' probation, plus a $1,000 fine and 250 hours of community service. Neal got three years' probation, a $2,500 fine, and 250 hours' community service. Ingram was ordered to serve a year in prison and pay a $1,000 fine. Emerson got two years' probation. Judge Richardson resigned, and received a suspended six-month prison sentence, one year probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Larry Gray was charged with illegally casting more than 25 absentee ballots in other people's names during the 2002 primary, but the sum total of his election fraud may have been much higher. The former sanitation director for the city applied for hundreds of ballots, successfully submitting 98 in the Democratic primary. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Gray was likely not the only one running this type of scheme. After pleading guilty, Gray received two years' probation.
Officials in the small town of Cudahy took part in a widespread corruption scheme that included accepting cash bribes, abusing drugs at City Hall, and throwing out absentee ballots that favored election challengers. After a lengthy FBI Investigation of the 2007 and 2009 elections, the former head of code enforcement, Angel Perales, admitted to tampering with mail-in ballots in city elections by opening them and then resealing and submitting votes for incumbent candidates while discarding votes for challengers. He and Mayor David Silva pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges, although Perales' plea agreement included his admission of election fraud. Silva was sentenced to one year in federal prison. Perales was sentenced to five years' probation.
Toni Lee Newbill pleaded guilty to voting twice using her deceased father's name to do so, once in the 2013 general election and again in the Republican primary of 2016. Newbill was sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation and 30 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a $500 fine and additional court fees.
In 2012, Brittany Curtis pleaded guilty to attempting to influence a public servant when she forged signatures and voter information on a ballot petition. She was given a deferred sentence of two years and fined $1,653.50.