Five More People Arrested in Crittenden County Voter Fraud
(Crittenden County, AR) Five people were arrested on state charges of voter fraud Tuesday, on top of the four people who already pleaded guilty to federal charges earlier this month.
Eric Cox, Lisa Burns, Amos Sanders, Deshay Lorenzo Parker III, and Leroy Grant were charged with possession of more than 10 absentee ballots with the intent to defraud election officials.
This charge is a class D felony, which can result in up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Earlier in September, Rep. Hudson Hallum pleaded guilty to buying votes. Kent Hallum, his father, Philip Carter, a West Memphis councilman, and Sam Malone, a West Memphis police officer, also pleaded guilty.
An indictment accused the four of them of buying chicken dinners and cheap vodka in exchange for votes. They are also accused of destroying ballots cast for Hallum’s opponent.
In the run-off election in 2011, Kim Felker was Hallum’s opponent. She noted some suspicious incidents, like people who had mentioned they turned their absentee ballots into certain people, or people who said they didn’t vote but were recorded as having voted.
Felker decided to alert prosecutors to six suspicious incidents she observed, including a voicemail she received from Leroy Grant, one of the five arrested Tuesday.
“He had called and left a message on my machine, saying that he had something that I needed, down in wards 4 and 5 in West Memphis,” Felker said.
When she found out Hallum had pleaded guilty, she read the indictment online.
She said it was so upsetting, “I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t finish it in one sitting.”
The indictment even quoted Hallum saying to Councilman Carter, “We need to use that black limo and buy a couple of cases of some cheap vodka and whiskey to get people to vote.”
In the run-off, Felker lost to Hallum by eight votes. While she won the vote among people going to polls on election day, she said Hallum had hundreds more absentee ballots than she did.
Now that there are accusations of bought votes and destroyed ballots, Felker said, “It was a missed opportunity for me, and it was really stolen from me.”
Disheartened, Felker said she would not run for office again in the near future.
“Your vote is one of the most basic rights you have. And when you see the manipulation in the voting process like you see here, well then you see your democracy disappearing.”
She said she’s happy now. She’s not the type to be a sore loser. She said she did all this for good.
“Maybe my purpose was not to be the state representative. Maybe my purpose was to make things better here in my own county,” Felker said.