Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vote buying lingers on; former E. Ky. officials get long terms in federal probe, and more are coming

Vote buying remains a problem in poor areas, perhaps more so in rural ones, where voting places are more isolated and there are fewer eyes to watch election officials. Two former election officers and a former circuit judge in Clay County, Kentucky, were sentenced this week to prison terms of 20 years and more for their role in a massive vote-buying and corruption scandal that has consumed the county for almost a decade.

"U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced Charles Wayne Jones, 71, to 20 years in prison and William E. Stivers, 58, to 24 1⁄3 years," Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Six other former county officials, including a former school superintendent, county clerk and magistrate, who were convicted with Jones and Stivers last year, will be sentenced this week. Today, former Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle, 67, was sentenced to 26 2/3 years.

"Jurors convicted the eight of using Clay County's election board as a tool to corrupt elections in 2002, '04 and '06 by buying or stealing votes on a scale that Reeves said he hadn't seen in any other case," Estep writes. Stivers was an officer at a polling place during the scandal, and Jones was the county's Democratic election commissioner. Stivers' attorney had sought a sentence of less than 20 years for his client because of Stivers' age and serious health problems, but Reeves said Stivers could receive adequate medical care in prison. (Read more)

No comments: