Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Court document: Republican election judge bought votes with OxyContin

by Stephen C. Webster

Clay County, Kentucky has a reputation for corrupt government. After years of federal investigations and numerous authorities landing in jail, each progressive revelation becomes that much less shocking.

But this one still packs a punch.


According to local media:

A former Clay County election officer plans to plead guilty to a charge that he took part in a vote-buying scheme with prominent public officials.

The attorney for Paul E. Bishop filed a motion Thursday seeking a hearing for him to plead guilty to one count of racketeering.

That charge alleges that members of the conspiracy used the county Board of Elections as a vehicle to corrupt voting between 2002 and 2007 so they could hold on to power and enrich themselves and others.

Other officials suspected to be involved include a county clerk, the school superintendent, a circuit judge, the democratic election commissioner and another elections official. No word as yet whether Bishop has plans to testify against his co-defendants.

But here's the real juicy bit:

According to court documents, some worked at polling places, making sure people voted for candidates they were supposed to and then giving them stickers or tickets, which the voters then showed at other locations to get cash from others involved in the conspiracy.

The indictment said Bishop, a Republican election officer in the Manchester precinct in 2002 and 2004, hosted meetings at his house where candidates for office pooled money to use in buying votes.

He also bought votes at the polling place, giving voters a mark or ticket so they could get paid later, the indictment says.

Bishop and [elections official William] Stivers also used OxyContin to buy votes at the direction of [School Superintendent Douglas] Adams in 2002, former Manchester assistant police Chief Todd Roberts told investigators, according to another court document.

With all due respect, he may have just been trying to drum up some extra listeners for Rush Limbaugh.

Bradblog also has some excellent background on Clay County's history of corruption and why this case matters for advocates of transparent, accountable voting.


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