Gregg County Commissioner Charged in 2018 Election Fraud Case
Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown and three other people face 134 felony charges after allegedly abusing mail-in ballots intended for disabled voters back in 2018.
Attorney General Ken Paxton's office reported Thursday that 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 charges include 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.
Paxton's office and the Gregg County District Attorney say the four are accused of obtaining absentee ballots intended for elderly, disabled voters in the names of young, able-bodied people - in most cases, without their knowledge or consent.
The ballot abuse allegedly happened during Brown's March 2018 primary race against opponent Kasha Williams. The Longview News-Journal reports that Brown won after a dead heat, and that 73.4% of absentee ballots were cast in Brown's favor.
Williams filed a lawsuit challenging the results, and Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy began expressing concerns about what she believed to be a disproportionate amount of mail-in ballots in the South Longview voting precinct.
The Texas Tribune reports that the case focuses on applications and ballots for about 38 voters, and that indictments don't give a clear picture of how the alleged scheme was pulled off or how many of the ballots in question were successfully cast.
You can download a PDF copy of those indictments by clicking here or using the button below. Take a look at the documents and decide for yourself.
Gregg County Jail records indicate all four of the accused were released on $25,000 personal recognizance bonds Thursday. If convicted, the accused could face sentences of anywhere from six months in state jail to 99 years in prison.