Four California men pleaded no contest to charges that they committed voter fraud by paying homeless people In Los Angeles’s Skid Row for their votes.
The men had been caught bribing homeless people with $1 or a cigarette In exchange for their signatures, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
Richard Howard and Louis Thomas Wise were each charged with a felony count for placing fake names on ballot initiative petitions and voter registration forms. Christopher Joseph Williams and Nickey Demelvin Huntley were charged for circulating ballot initiative petitions that included fake names.
Howard was issued a suspended sentence of three years In state prison and three years of formal probation, meaning that he will only serve his prison time if he breaks the terms of his probation. Wise was similarly issued a 16-month suspended sentence with three years of formal probation. Huntley and Williams both received three years of probation.
The voter fraud scheme was used In the 2016 and 2018 election cycles and involved nine people In total. In addition to the four who pleaded no contest, Norman Hall pleaded guilty In February and was sentenced to one year In jail, three years of probation, and 100 hours of community service. Four others who have been charged have yet to conclude their cases.
The nine people involved had contracts with various campaigns and ballot initiatives that paid individuals per signature or registration. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, contractors can earn between $2 and $6 per signature or registration.