CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man will pay $1,000 and serve a year on probation for illegal voting during the 2020 election, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced Thursday.
Richard Fox was sentenced last week in Fayette County Circuit Court for casting two mail-in ballots – one in West Virginia and one in Florida – during Nov. 3, 2020, election, according to a news release from Warner’s office. The release did not include any information about who Fox voted for.
In a statement, Warner said Fox’s actions not only violated the law, but “broke the trust of our citizens, and directly harmed the integrity of every race on his ballot.”
“With this guilty plea, others who may be tempted to repeat this criminal act are on notice that my office will aggressively and effectively pursue a criminal conviction,” he said.
Warner, a Republican who is running for governor in West Virginia, also praised his office for being “tough on voter fraud.”
Since 2017, his office has identified at least 300,000 people, in a state of 1.8 million, no longer able to vote because they moved, died or were convicted of a felony. During Warner’s tenure, 260,000 new voters have registered. In Thursday’s release, he said his office has developed a “See Something, Text Something” reporting tool allowing residents to submit tips about suspected illegal voting using their cellphones.
After West Virginia was the last in the nation to certify Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential race in 2020, Warner said he supported the state’s involvement in the legal effort to challenge the results. Warner also made an appearance at a “March for Trump” rally in Charleston after the election, where he appeared to be holding up a “Stop the Steal” sign.
Warner was also one of the first GOP election officials to opt to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center, a nonpartisan group with a record of combating voter fraud. Warner said he has had better success working with his own team to verify and investigate the rolls, as well as collaborating with other states.
Warner toed the line for more than two years speaking publicly about the 2020 election results, before going on a talk show just weeks ago to say he can “now firmly say” he believes the election was stolen and “we should not rest easy.”
Repeated investigations, audits and court cases have concluded there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud or improper counting that could have changed the results in former U.S. President Donald Trump’s favor.
Warner has contended that his major concerns draw from claims that tech companies, the media and federal intelligence officials colluded to cover up incriminating information found on the laptop of Biden’s son Hunter. He has pushed back against denials by social media executives and federal law enforcement that they were pressured by Democrats to suppress the story, calling their actions “treasonous” in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month.
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