West Virginia mail carrier sentenced for attempted election fraud

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 3:42 PM EDT
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PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A mail carrier convicted in connection with the manipulation of absentee voter requests has been sentenced to five years probation with six months of the term to be served on home confinement.

Thomas Cooper, 48, of Dry Fork pleaded guilty last July to single counts of injury to the mail.

An affidavit filed in late May 2020 stated Cooper fraudulently altered eight absentee ballot requests in Pendleton County, of which the complaint stated he fraudulently changed the party affiliation on five from Democrat to Republican.

The affidavit that accompanied the criminal complaint stated Cooper accessed the ballot requests through his employment as a rural mail carrier.

He was responsible for mail delivery in the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed – Onego, Riverton and Franklin.

According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests.

The alterations were caught by an elections official in the Pendleton County Courthouse and reported to the state’s Election Fraud Task Force.

“This conviction and sentencing should serve as a strong warning to anyone else who feels tempted to commit election fraud,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “As we have stressed in the past, our team remains committed to protecting the integrity of elections in West Virginia. We will use every means provided by the law to do so.”

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