ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Thomas Cooper, a mail carrier in Pendleton County, has admitted to attempted election fraud, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Cooper, age 47, of Dry Fork, West Virginia, pled guilty to one count of “Attempt to Defraud the Residents of West Virginia of a Fair Election” and one count of “Injury to the Mail.” Cooper held a U.S. Postal Service contract to deliver mail in Pendleton County. In April 2020, the Clerk of Pendleton County received “2020 Primary Election COVID-19 Mail-In Absentee Request” forms from eight voters on which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered.
The clerk reported the finding to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, which began an investigation. The investigation found five ballot requests that had been altered from “Democrat” to “Republican.” On three other requests, the party wasn’t changed, but the request had been altered.
Cooper was responsible for the mail delivery of the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed: Onego, Riverton, and Franklin, West Virginia. Cooper admitted today to altering some of the requests.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.