West Virginia mail carrier admits attempted election fraud

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ELKINS, W.Va. — A West Virginia postal carrier pleaded guilty Thursday to altering mail-in requests for absentee voter ballots.

Thomas Cooper entered the plea in federal court in Elkins to attempted election fraud and injury to the mail, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell said in a statement.

Cooper was charged in May after eight mail-in requests for absentee voter ballots had their party affiliations altered.

Cooper, 47, of Dry Fork, held a postal contract to pick up mail in the three towns in which the voters live and delivered the forms in April to the Pendleton County clerk, according to a federal affidavit.

An investigation by the secretary of state’s office found five of the ballot requests were changed from Democrat to Republican with a black ink pen, the affidavit said.

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. – READ MORE

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