Two dealers were convicted this week of buying votes with drug money, specifically cocaine and marijuana. U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey says “hundreds of thousands of dollars, to buy votes comes from drug money:
Harvey has led a recent string of federal prosecutions exposing the widespread and accepted practice of vote buying in eastern Kentucky. The soft-spoken federal prosecutor, along with his team and state authorities, are waging a battle against what he characterizes as a vote-buying culture embedded in many of the communities for generations.
He says the problem is rooted in economic woes, which is why votes are routinely for sale. In that part of the state, jobs are scarce and poverty is high. Controlling local government means controlling jobs.
“These folks go out and hijack the local elections for their own purposes and then they use those jobs to enrich themselves and their confederates. It really is a terrible problem and it has to be stopped,” Harvey explains.
A County School Superintendent pleaded guilty to “conspiracy.” This from a magistrate from the same county who is now serving time in prison, although his crime did not involve drugs:
“The sellers in this situation would come to me and ask how much was I paying for votes, and ask me if I was buying votes or whatever, and I told them the most I could pay is $25,” Salyers described to Fox News. “They would go into the machine and cast their vote…They were supposed to vote for me. They would come back to me and I would pay them for going to vote. I had one gentleman come to me and say ‘Mike, I have four votes,’ so he took them to vote and I gave him $100, $25 a vote.”…
Salyers says vote buying has been so blatant that, “you used to be able to go behind the voting machine with voters, to make sure that if you bought their vote, that they would vote the way you wanted to.” But the laws were strengthened, and now vote buyers have to trust that the people they pay to cast their ballots vote as they say they will.
If the video disappears or does not play, view it here.