A West Virginia postal carrier pled guilty to mail and election fraud after admitting he changed the political affiliation on multiple voter ballot requests from Democrat to Republican.
Thomas Cooper, 47, admitted to attempted election fraud and injury to the mail Thursday after an affidavit was filed against him in May.
Cooper held a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to pick up mail in three towns in Pendleton County.
In April, per a statement from the Department of Justice, the county clerk found absentee ballot requests from eight voters that were tampered with a black ink pen, five of which had their party affiliation switched to Republican. Three others that had their affiliation already set to Republican were altered, but did not have their political party changed. All ballots were located in Pendleton County.
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Bennie Cogar, a West Virginia Attorney General's Office investigator working on behalf of the secretary of state's office, said in the affidavit filed in May that Cooper admitted to having tampered with some of the requests he delivered "as a joke." He did not know any of the voters whose requests he changed.
Despite ongoing accusations about mail-in voter fraud, including those by President Trump, cases have been minimal — and Trump himself has voted absentee. State leaders from both parties have granted more absentee ballots to residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WV mail carrier guilty of election fraud changed absentee ballot forms