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Former Lincoln commissioner sentenced to less than two years

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federal judge sentenced former Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey to just under two years in prison Thursday, bringing to a close a years-long voting fraud investigation that led to the downfalls of three county officials.

U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston sentenced Ramey to 21 months on charges that he lied to FBI agents when he said he did not know who altered absentee ballot applications after they were filed in the county clerk's office for the county's 2010 Democratic primary. He later admitted to ordering the illegal alterations.

Earlier this year, Johnston sentenced former Lincoln County Clerk Donnie Whitten to 12 months and former county Sheriff Jerry Bowman to 18 months for their roles in the scheme.

Bowman admitted that he falsified more than 100 absentee ballot applications for voters who were not legally qualified to vote absentee. After the false applications were processed, Bowman traveled to many of the voters' homes and stood by as they filled out the ballots, telling them which candidates he backed, prosecutors said. Whitten admitted that he lied to investigators about his role in the scheme, and that he lied when he said that he had never given an absentee ballot application to a "known associate," now believed to be Ramey.


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