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Lincoln commissioner charged with fraud is replaced

HAMLIN, W.Va. -- The Lincoln County Commission has selected a replacement for a commissioner who resigned after being charged in an election fraud investigation.

Media outlets reported that the commission on Thursday appointed Michael Browning, of Harts, to fill the seat vacated by Thomas Ramey. Browning will serve out Ramey's unexpired term until after the November election. Browning did not attend the meeting.

Ramey, who resigned last month, faces a plea hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Prosecutors say Ramey lied to an FBI agent about absentee ballot applications. The case stems from a conspiracy to sway Lincoln County's 2010 Democratic primary with fraudulent absentee ballots.

Two other officials charged in the investigation, former Sheriff Jerry Bowman and ex-County Clerk Donald Whitten, face sentencing Aug. 29. Both men have resigned.


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