Charleston, W.Va. – Two former Lincoln County officials were sentenced today on federal charges related to an absentee voting scheme during the 2010 Primary Election.
Former Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten, who pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to investigators, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and a $5,000 fine.
Former Lincoln County Sheriff Jerry Bowman, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, two years of supervised release, and a fine of $5,000.
Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said her administration has more convictions on election law violations than previous Secretaries of State combined.
“Today proves that no matter who violates our election law, regardless of party or position, there will be an investigation and those who are guilty will be brought to justice,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said. “The partnership between the Secretary of State’s Office and federal investigators has produced results that send a clear message: that our elections will not be manipulated and election law violations will not be tolerated. I encourage all West Virginians to be vigilant this election season. If you see something that you think may be a violation of election law, please contact our office. It is up to all of us to make sure our elections are open and fair.
“But our work is not done. We will continue to work closely with election officials not only in Lincoln County but anywhere in West Virginia to ensure that our elections are fair and that no one is attempting to chip away at our democracy.”
To report a possible election law violation, call the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office at (304) 558-6000 or toll free at 1-866-SOS-VOTE (1-866-767-8683).
Another man charged in connection to this case, James Matheny of Midkiff, is scheduled to be sentenced later this week. Matheny is accused of threatening at gunpoint a Secretary of State investigator and federal agent who were investigating the absentee voting scheme.
Former Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey has also been charged in connection to the absentee voting scheme. Ramey pleaded guilty to one count of lying to a federal officer and faces a later sentencing date.