A West Virginia resident pled guilty to illegally voting in the 2020 election, the state’s top election official announced on Wednesday.
According to Secretary of State Mac Warner, Jon Cooper pled guilty to voting twice during the 2020 presidential election. In addition to voting in West Virginia, Cooper, a former Randolph County resident, also cast a ballot in New Mexico. His guilty plea represents this year’s second confirmed case in West Virginia of voter fraud in the 2020 election, according to a local news outlet.
“I have been dedicated to uncovering and prosecuting election fraud since taking office in 2017,” Warner said in a statement. “If anyone attempts to cheat in a West Virginia election or commit voter fraud in any way, we will catch you.”
While legislation enacted in West Virginia last year upgraded illegal voting from a misdemeanor to a felony, Cooper’s crime predated the measure’s implementation, meaning he will only be charged with a misdemeanor. A local judge has since ordered Cooper to pay a $500 fine and denied his request for deferred adjudication on the matter.
Warner has been among the country’s most vocal critics of unlawful interference in U.S. elections. Last month, he was one of six leading Republican election officials who signed a letter calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to resign if Congress confirms his role in organizing efforts to smear reporting about the Bidens as Russian disinformation, interfering in the 2020 presidential election.
Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee released a report that included testimony from Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA who signed onto a debunked letter from 51 former intelligence officials that falsely claimed the infamous Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation. In his testimony, Morell claimed “on or around October 17, 2020,” Blinken — who, at the time, served as a Biden campaign adviser — “reached out to him to discuss the Hunter Biden laptop story,” which had been published in the New York Post on Oct. 14.
According to Morell, Blinken’s outreach “set in motion the events that led to the issuance of the public statement,” baselessly claiming the laptop was part of a Russian disinfo campaign. The former CIA official further testified that he had no intention of writing the letter until after he spoke with Blinken, confirming the call “absolutely” pushed him to write it.
Morell further claimed the two intentions behind distributing the letter were to share their purported “concern[s] with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue” and to “help Vice President Biden.”[READ: Leading GOP Election Officials: Feds’ ‘Treasonous’ Interference Is A ‘Direct Attack’ On U.S. Elections]
In addition to passing critically important legislation, West Virginia has taken additional steps to ensure the integrity of its elections. According to Warner, the state has removed more than 400,000 ineligible voters from its voter registration lists since 2016. West Virginia is also among several states to withdraw from ERIC, a leftist-controlled voter-roll management group that benefits Democrats.
Shawn Fleetwood is a staff writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He previously served as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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