Voter fraud has a shocking new meaning in eastern Kentucky.
That is where in some cases, major cocaine and marijuana dealers admitted to buying votes to steal elections, and the result is the corruption of American democracy. The government continues to mete out justice in the scandal, as two people convicted in April in a vote-buying case face sentencing this week, and another public official pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy.
"We believe that drug money did buy votes," Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said of a separate vote-buying case.
He described a stunning vote-buying scheme that includes "very extensive, organized criminal activity, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in many cases that involves drug money."
Harvey has led a recent string of federal prosecutions exposing the widespread and accepted practice of vote buying in eastern Kentucky. The soft-spoken federal prosecutor, along with his team and state authorities, are waging a battle against what he characterizes as a vote-buying culture embedded in many of the communities for generations.