Williamson – The mother of Mingo County Commissioner Thomas Taylor has pleaded no contest to an election crime, according to the Secretary of State.
A Mingo County Magistrate accepted the no-contest plea by Judy Taylor for false swearing on an official absentee ballot application during the 2020 general election.
Judy Taylor, the mother of Republican Commissioner Thomas Taylor, entered the plea following an investigation by Secretary of State Mac Warner.
Logan County Prosecutor David Wandling was appointed to this matter after Mingo Prosecutor Duke Jewell recused himself. Wandling alleged that Taylor submitted an absentee ballot application for a person who “no longer resided in West Virginia making him ineligible to complete an absentee ballot application for the 2020 general election.” “According to her plea agreement, Taylor agreed to a pre-trial diversion for a period of one year for her actions.
West Virginia election laws balance access and security and make it easy for eligible voters to participate in our elections,” said Warner. “However, when individuals take advantage of the various convenient voting options, their actions cause legitimate voters to lose confidence in election systems and outcomes. The election law enforcement by Prosecutor Wandling is yet another example of how dedicated West Virginia is to part ways with our state’s sordid history of election shenanigans.”
Warner continued, “In West Virginia, only registered citizens of the state are entitled to vote in any election. If an eligible voter is qualified to vote via mail-in absentee ballot, the voter must personally complete the application in their own handwriting.”
Here, Taylor completed and signed the application on behalf of an ineligible out-of-state person, then submitted it to the Mingo County Clerk’s Office. According to public records, the ineligible out-of-state person was mailed the absentee ballot but did not return it or vote in West Virginia’s 2020 general election.
Taylor’s action was deemed a felony crime to assist an ineligible voter with obtaining a ballot to vote illegally. However, when Taylor’s actions took place, the crime was a misdemeanor. Taylor pleaded no contest to false swearing on the absentee ballot application, which is a misdemeanor.
“Over the past few years, we have bolstered our Investigations Division and now have investigators located all across the state who are able to respond to complaints and improprieties quickly,” said Warner. “My office works closely with county clerks, law enforcement, and prosecutors to make sure that election laws are followed. Together, we must protect our critical election infrastructure and see that those who don’t follow the law are punished.”
In 2021, Warner launched the “See Something, Text Something” reporting tool. Citizens now have the ability to submit an election complaint and attach photos or videos using their mobile devices. To report suspicious election activity, text “WV” to 45995 and follow the prompts.
For more information on elections in West Virginia, visit www.GoVoteWV.com.