A postal worker was arrested in West Virginia and charged with attempted election fraud after prosecutors discovered that he changed party preferences on mail-ballot applications from Democrat to Republican with a black ink pen to help Republicans, according to The Independent.
The worker, Thomas Cooper, 47, delivered the forms last month to the Pendleton County clerk from eight voters, US Attorney Bill Powell said in a statement on Tuesday.
Citing the criminal complaint, The Independent reported that Cooper delivered eight forms requesting an absentee ballot in November to the Pendleton County Courthouse last month that appeared to have had the voters’ party-ballot requests altered.
From the report:
“Five of the ballot requests were changed from Democrat to Republican with a black ink pen,” said a federal affidavit after an investigation by the secretary of state’s office.
Three other applications had their preferences altered, but not the political preference.
Absentee ballot applications were mailed to all registered voters in West Virginia last month in a bid to encourage mail voting in November’s presidential election amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Investigator Bennie Cogar said that their office was contacted when the county clerk noticed ballot applications from people she believed were not Republicans.
Cooper admitted to Cogar and a postal inspector that he amended some applications collected at the Onega post office from Democrat to Republican, according to an affidavit.
The development as Twitter informed users on Tuesday night that Donald Trump’s comments on mail ballots contained incorrect information.
Trump maintains that mail ballots are “fraudulent” despite studies suggesting otherwise.
The president has also threatened to withdraw funding from states who move ahead with plans to introduce mail-in ballots in November, and commented that Republicans would lose when everyone had access to mail ballots.