CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a former West Virginia county official to nearly two years in prison on Thursday, partly as a warning that election fraud in the state must stop.
Thomas Ramey Jr. was ordered to serve 21 months for lying to an FBI agent about absentee ballot applications, which prosecutors say were part of a scheme to sway Lincoln County’s 2010 Democratic primary.
Appointed to the county commission and running to keep the seat, Ramey had filed the applications after enlisting residents to vote absentee. State law requires a reason for casting an absentee ballot. Ramey pleaded guilty to lying to the agent in February about arranging for a longtime acquaintance in the clerk’s office to mark reasons on applications that weren’t fully filled out.
“In the end, I panicked, and when I was asked about it I was too scared to admit it,” Ramey told U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston and a courtroom packed with dozens of his supporters and other Lincoln County residents.