First 2 of 9 Democrats Sentenced in Vote Fraud Scheme
Two local democratic election workers were the first two of nine to be sentenced for scheming to buy votes in the November 2004 elections today:
A former Democratic election worker in this battered city was sentenced Monday to a year and a half in federal prison and a City Hall volunteer got probation for scheming to buy votes in the November 2004 election.
Noting that the case reflected an American election process “under attack” by fraud, U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy ordered former precinct committee member Sheila Thomas’ prison sentence to be followed by two years of supervised release.
Murphy rejected a prosecutor’s request that Yvette Johnson, 47, get 10 to 16 months in prison and he gave her two years’ probation, including five months of home confinement.
“I’m just glad that it’s over,” Johnson told reporters afterward.
Thomas, 31 and her attorney, Paul Sims, declined comment.
Last June, Johnson and Thomas were convicted of conspiracy to commit vote fraud. In the same trial, local Democratic Party chairman Charles Powell Jr., former city director of regulatory affairs Kelvin Ellis, and Democratic precinct committee member Jesse Lewis also were convicted of conspiracy to commit vote fraud.
Thomas, Johnson, Ellis and Lewis also were convicted of election fraud for allegedly paying or offering to pay at least one person to vote.
Johnson and Thomas were the first to be sentenced of the nine people who either were convicted or pleaded guilty in the alleged scheme.
Prosecutors alleged that money flowed from St. Clair County Democrats to their East St. Louis counterparts in a bid to elect certain Democratic candidates.
State records showed that tens of thousands of dollars were transferred from the county Democrats to the committeemen days before the election.
At least 16 St. Louis area Democrats have been found guilty of election crimes since the 2004 election!
As far as Mr. Ellis, he tried to have a federal witness silenced “permanently” during the investigation. He pleaded guilty for attempted murder of a federal witness in October of last year. He awaits sentencing.