Many conservatives—including y’all’s president—have had a lot to say about mail-in voting and the potential it has to cause voter fraud. Of course, there’s not much evidence supporting the idea that absentee ballots will result in fraud on the part of voters, but in West Virginia, one case of election tampering happened before voters even received their ballots.
According to TIME, West Virginia postal carrier Thomas Cooper has been charged with attempted election fraud after he allegedly altered the party affiliation sections of eight absentee ballot request forms before delivering them to the Pendleton County clerk last month.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Cooper is accused of using a black ink pen to change the party affiliation status from Democrat to Republican on five of the applications. On the other three forms, he used the pen to circle the word “Republican.”
Here’s how the investigation into Cooper started as reported by TIME:
Absentee ballot applications were mailed to all registered voters in West Virginia last month in a bid to encourage mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bennie Cogar, an attorney general’s office investigator who conducted the probe on behalf of the secretary of state’s office, said in the affidavit that the Pendleton County clerk called some of the voters after receiving the requests because she knew they were not Republicans. The clerk then contacted the secretary of state’s office to report the alterations.
According to the federal affidavit, Cooper admitted to Cogar and a postal inspector that he did alter the mail-in request forms saying it was meant “as a joke.” The state attorney general’s office didn’t find it so funny.
“Manipulating one’s absentee ballot or application is not a laughing matter – it’s a federal offense,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said, according to the Miami Herald. “We must protect the integrity of the ballot box, and this demonstrates the aggressive action we will take to do so.”