Charleston, W.Va. – Former Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey pleaded guilty today to one count of lying to a federal officer as part of a joint state-federal investigation into election law violations dating back to the 2010 Primary.
“The joint state-federal investigation continues to yield results, even 27 months later,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said. “This investigation has now resulted in three elected officials from Lincoln County pleading guilty. I am proud of the effort put forth by the investigators from the Secretary of State’s Office and the close cooperation we have enjoyed with federal investigators. Our message has been clear: We will investigate allegations of election law violations and we will not allow those who seek to manipulate our elections chip away at the foundation of our democracy.
“This goes further than plea agreements and punishments. To have clear and fair elections you have to be in the county working closely with election officials to make sure they are doing to process correctly, and that is what the Secretary of State’s Office has done.”
Former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten and former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman have also pleaded guilty in connection to the absentee voting scheme during the 2010 Primary. Another man, James Matheny of Midkiff, was arrested in February after threatening at gunpoint state and federal investigators looking into the case. Matheny is currently awaiting sentencing.
“We stand with election officials in Lincoln County who now want to put the past behind them and begin a new era of honest, open, and fair elections,” Secretary Tennant said. “The Secretary of State’s Office will continue to provide support and to serve as a source of information for election officials and the voters of Lincoln County.”