Gregg County Commissioner, others arrested for organized vote harvesting scheme

The state filed 134 felony charges against the four defendants
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 4:21 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday that authorities arrested Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, Marlena Jackson, Charlie Burns, and DeWayne Ward on charges in connection with an organized vote harvesting scheme during the 2018 Democratic primary election.

The group is accused of targeting “young, able-bodied voters to cast ballots by mail fraudulently claiming the voters were ‘disabled,’ in most cases without the voters' knowledge or consent” to increase the pool of ballots needed to swing the race in Brown’s favor, according to a statement from Paxton.

The state filed 134 felony charges against the four defendants, including engaging in organized election fraud, illegal voting, fraudulent use of an application for a mail-in ballot, unlawful possession of a mail-in ballot, tampering with a governmental record, and election fraud.

The penalties for these offenses can range from six months in state jail to 99 years in prison.

A grand jury returned indictments on 23 felony counts against Commissioner Brown, 97 felony counts against Marlena Jackson, eight felony counts against Charlie Burns, and six felony counts against DeWayne Ward. The Office of the Attorney General was assisted by the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office during the investigation. The Texas Attorney General will prosecute this case alongside the Gregg County District Attorney.

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