Vote Buying, Bath County, KY

A federal jury has found County Judge-Executive, Walter Shrout, guilty of conspiracy to buy votes. In the few reports I can find on the subject, it looks like Shrout was the ring leader it a conspiracy to buy votes using an Early Voting System. Bath County residents testified that Shrout, local contractor Roosevelt “Sonny” Swartz or Shrout’s secretary would give them envelopes stuffed with cash to buy votes during the first two weeks in May, when a voting machine was open for voters who were not going to be in the county on May 16. Sonny Swartz has pleaded not guilty to one charge of vote-buying.

During the trial, Carrington said that Anthony “Buck” White, Mike Butcher, Norman Crouch, Belinda Crouch and Steve Crouch — who have all been charged with buying votes — did not tell prosecutors that Shrout was involved in the vote-buying until late October, after the five had suggested that Shrout pay each $100,000 to keep quiet. Shrout instead reported the extortion attempt to the FBI, Carrington said.

The Associated Press accounts do not always mention how Shrout was able to confirm the votes were cast as paid. But this older story does:

About 520 Bath County residents voted absentee in the election in question—more than double the number cast in 2002. Of those 520, nearly half filled out a form saying they needed assistance and brought people into the voting booth with them.

The Bag Man already plead guilty, his name is Maze. So I’m sure that there are court documents that detail the methods somewhere in Kentucky.

Maze went on trial in February on charges that he gave people money to buy votes and for trying to persuade two potential witnesses to lie to federal authorities about his involvement in the vote-buying scheme. During the trial, Maze was arrested on jury-tampering charges. Maze ultimately pleaded guilty to several vote-buying related charges.


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