Election Fraud Cases
Dallas Toler, former Mingo County Chief Magistrate, pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud. He submitted a voter registration for someone he knew was a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Former Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey pleaded guilty to lying to federal officers in the midst of their investigation of a massive voter fraud conspiracy. Sheriff Jerry Bowman and County Clerk Donald Whitten also pleaded guilty, admitting that they stuffed ballot boxes with fraudulent ballots and falsified absentee ballots in an effort to rig the 2010 Democratic primary. Whitten won the election, but a judge overturned the election after throwing out 300 fraudulent ballots. Ramey was sentenced to 21 months of imprisonment. Bowman was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine. Whitten was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release, with a $5,000 fine.
James Surkamp pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized presence in a polling place. Surkamp, while serving as Jefferson County Commissioner, voted twice in a 2009 referendum. He cast his first vote during the early voting period and then attempted to vote again on election day. Surkamp, who subsequently lost his re-election bid in the 2010 Democratic primary, was ordered to write a letter to the Secretary of State admitting his guilt, as well as pay a $100 fine and court costs.
Perry French Harvey pleaded guilty to a charge of scheming to buy votes in the 2004 Logan County Democratic primary. He was sentenced to three years' probation.
Six Lincoln County Democrats pleaded guilty to charges of participating in a conspiracy to buy votes dating back to 1990. The indictment charged that the six conspired to buy votes in elections held in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004 "for the purpose of selecting and electing candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives and in some instances, for the presidency and vice presidency of the U.S." The men paid for votes in liquor and cash, typically $20 per vote, and handed out slates listing preferred candidates. The five also laid gravel on roads for supporters and fixed traffic tickets. Some of their sentences included the following: Vance was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment, Stowers received six months of imprisonment, and Wandell Adkins received four months in a halfway house.
When his wife was running for the House of Delegates, Mark Oliver Hrutkay, a lawyer and his wife's campaign treasurer, paid $10,000 to a political operative to secure support for his wife's candidacy. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges, stemming from his mailing a campaign disclosure form that failed to mention the $10,000 payment. He was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay fines amounting to $45,000.
Johnny "Big John" Mendez, former Logan County Sheriff, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to buy votes. Mendez bought votes for himself and a member of the state House of Delegates, making cash payments and offering more money to heads of households who could deliver the votes of all the eligible voters living at a given residence. He was sentenced to a year of home confinement and five years of probation.
Jerry Weaver and Greg Stowers, leaders of a political machine in Lincoln County, pleaded guilty to vote buying charges in connection with a 12-year-long vote fraud scheme. Both men were sentenced to a year in prison.
In West Virginia, Johnny Mendez, the sheriff of Logan County, pleaded guilty to federal charges that he accepted $10,000 in illegal contributions and used the money to buy votes in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Alvin Ray Porter, Jr., the former police chief of Logan County, pleaded guilty to buying votes during the 2002 Democratic Primary. Porter was one of several Logan County officials who conspired to influence elections in 2002. Porter was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. He also was ordered to give speeches on his personal experiences with corruption to eighth grade civics classes and others.
Jeffrey Hartman, a resident of Westminster, Maryland, illegally registered to vote in both Maryland and Morgan County, West Virginia, and cast ballots in both states nine times since 2006. Hartman pleaded guilty in West Virginia to illegal voting and was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence, was put on probation for one year, and ordered to pay a $100 fine and court costs.
Carson Lee Tuttle voted by absentee ballot in Cabell County, West Virginia, and in person in Franklin County, Ohio, in the 2016 general election. Tuttle's duplicate voting was detected during a crosscheck of voting records by the Ohio Secretary of State. Tuttle admitted to an investigator that he had voted twice and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor illegal voting charge. He was fined $100 and ordered to pay $160.25 in court costs.