"Where did that money come from?" prosecutors asked convicted cocaine and marijuana dealer J.C. Lawson about vote buying. "From drug dealing I made," he answered, saying he paid $50 a vote.
Convicted cocaine trafficker Eugene Lewis testified "I would pay them right in the booth -- you would not believe the percentage of people, from school teachers down that I have bought their vote from. It's unbelievable."
"I always bought votes," testified convicted cocaine and marijuana trafficker Kenneth Day. "I have paid as high as $800 a vote -- election after election, day in and day out, every election I ever worked it went on."
William E. Stivers, a former Clay County elections commission worker, was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison in the voter fraud case. At his sentencing, Federal Judge Danny C. Reeves said "his willingness to use firearms ... gave him a position of status within the organization. He did appear to be the muscle of the criminal organization." He also said the case "involved the corruption of the electoral process within the county. It's astonishing the number of votes that were bought and sold."
Former Clay County Circuit Court Judge R. Cletus Maricle, sentenced to more than 26 years in prison in voter fraud case. Prosecutors say he "admitted to a reporter that 30% of the votes could be bought in Clay County in any given election." Prosecutors said "what was affected was the basic right to vote -- which is a right that protects all of our other rights. Clay County, as a result, became home to some of the largest drug dealers in the state." They say $400,000 was spent over several elections to buy the votes of 8,000 voters at $50 each.
Former Clay County Clerk Freddy Thompson, sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in voter fraud case. Prosecutors said of vote buying, "once you had the county clerk and once you had the Democratic commissioner, you had control."
Former Clay County Magistrate Stanley Bowling, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. At his sentencing, Federal Judge Danny C. Reeves said the amount of money spent to buy votes "did exceed $400,000 ... I see the case as more than just vote-buying."
Prosecutors say more than $400,000, part of it drug proceeds, was pooled by Democratic and Republican politicians in Kentucky's Clay County over several elections and spent to buy the votes of more than 8,000 voters, usually at $50 apiece.