Skip to comments.Councilman-elect reports vote-buying (Dem enfranchisement)
Posted on 11/15/2004 7:15:57 AM PST by DBeers
The Louisiana Secretary of State's office is investigating a newly-elected New Iberia city councilman's allegations that his opponent bought votes with money and alcohol.
Raymond "Shoe Do" Lewis claims people working for Georgianna Brown's campaign paid people $2 to $5 or gave them extra dry gin in exchange for their vote during the most recent absentee voting period in October. "I have recorded statements of people who were given money," he said. "The money was given to people with some sample ballots."
Lewis denied The Daily Iberian access to the tape, saying he wanted to save it for the investigation.
According to Louisiana Revised Statute 18:1461, it is illegal to "offer, promise, solicit, or accept money or anything of present or prospective value to secure or influence a vote or registration of a person."
There is a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or one year in jail for a first offense. Repeat offenders could face a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or jail time of up to five years.
Lewis first went to the district attorney's office to report the incident Oct. 29. He said he was directed to report the alledged vote-buying to the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office.
"The sheriff's office took a partial statement and said they wouldn't be able to do anything until Monday (Nov. 1)," Lewis said.
He said a sheriff's deputy called him at about noon on that Monday, but he was in the middle of a meeting and asked that the deputy call him back. He said the deputy has not called him back since.
Iberia Parish Sheriff Sid Hebert said his office has forwarded the complaint to the Louisiana Secretary of State and Attorney General.
"This is the first time we've received a complaint like this," he said. "We are waiting for guidance from them on this, but it's ultimately up to the state to proceed."
Renee Free, first assistant to Secretary of State Fox McKeithen, said that office did receive the complaint and are currently investigating.
"Our compliance unit is conducting an investigation," Free said. "There are four investigators who follow up on complaints of that nature."
She gave no specifics about when the investigation would be complete, adding it depends on the investigators' workload.
"There were a couple other complaints that came out of the Nov. 2 election," she said. "They are tracking them down, as well."
Brown said she did not take part in any vote buying.
"I did not pay anyone," she said. "I do not have enough money to do something like that. I used my own money for my campaign, and I'm not rich enough to pay anyone. Something is definitely wrong with Shoe Do."