Front Porch Blog

Arrests Made in Election Fraud case

From The Coalfield Progress:

Police have arrested the brother of a former mayor, the head of the town’s rescue squad and a third individual on charges connected to alleged election fraud in Appalachia.

Its dangerous to people in the establishment when the increasingly vocal citizens of Appalachia get their hands on the levers of power, and have a chance to change things.
The Wise County, VA jury could give two of the men up to 35 years in prison, with the other facing up to 10.

Unfortunately, this is all too common in Appalachia.

In March a grand jury indicted 14 people, including Appalachian government officials, their family members, and police officers, whom prosecutors claim engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to ensure that three candidates were elected to fill the town’s open council seats during the May 2004 council election.

Those indicted by the March grand jury included acting town manager Ben Cooper, who recently resigned his position as mayor but retained his position as a town councilman; Councilman Owen Anderson “Andy” Sharrett, who has since resigned from council; and four town employees: police captain Benjamin Graham Surber, police officer Walter Mike Baber, parks and recreation director Owen Anderson “Dude” Sharrett, and town bookkeeper Belinda Carolyn Sharrett, all of whom were suspended from their jobs without pay until their trials in October.

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