Vote Buying in Eastern Kentucky

Pretty brazen activities, and unusual from what I’ve seen in that the vote buyers were paying for in person, rather than absentee votes:

“When it comes to vote buying, it’s an everyday thing. … It’s pretty much like jaywalking,” admits former Breathitt County magistrate candidate Michael Salyers, who is now serving time in jail for buying votes in his 2010 race. While the funds in his case did not involve drug money, he describes how he was given $500 and ended up buying about 10 votes. He would meet people seeking to sell their votes in the back room of a local store.

“The sellers in this situation would come to me and ask how much was I paying for votes, and ask me if I was buying votes or whatever, and I told them the most I could pay is $25,” Salyers described to Fox News. “They would go into the machine and cast their vote…They were supposed to vote for me. They would come back to me and I would pay them for going to vote.  I had one gentleman come to me and say ‘Mike, I have four votes,’ so he took them to vote and I gave him $100, $25 a vote.”

Salyers says vote buying has been so blatant that, “you used to be able to go behind the voting machine with voters, to make sure that if you bought their vote, that they would vote the way you wanted to.” But the laws were strengthened, and now vote buyers have to trust that the people they pay to cast their ballots vote as they say they will.

There is a long history of such vote buying in the Southeast/Appalachian region.  (See my earlier report on these cases from March and see excerpts from a new book by Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Tom Glaze noted in my post from last year).
Notably, none of this has anything to do with a voter i.d. law.



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