Port Allen voter fraud investigation to end due to lack of evidence
PORT ALLEN - Following final testimony held on Thursday, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office says it has decided to abandon the investigation into reports of voter fraud that happened during Port Allen's 2014 mayoral race.
A release from the Sheriff's Office says obvious "irregularities" were turned up during a grand jury investigation into the claims, but it will not continue due to the lack of criminal evidence presented to support the claims.
The investigation, involving the District Attorney's Office, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and the Secretary of State's Office, began back in March 2014 after the Sheriff's Office reported that hundreds of people faxed a request to vote for Port Allen mayor through the mail, and dozens of those requests had information that did not match up with what was on file.
During early voting in that election, the Sheriff's Office said at least one person went in to cast a ballot but were told they already voted via mail-in ballot. The individual attempting to cast their early ballot said they hadn't voted yet.
At least one of the alleged discrepancies that happened during the mayoral race under the microscope came from an individual tied to former Mayor "Deedy" Slaughter's camp. Following the reports, authorities interviewed hundreds of people to lay groundwork for the investigation that concluded Thursday. Supporters of Slaughter said they didn't know anything about voter fraud in the election.
Ex-Mayor Slaughter was recalled from office in November 2013, and was trying to get her job back in the 2014 special election. She would lose to the current Port Allen mayor, Richard Lee.
Part of the investigation involved the Sheriff's Office's attempts to gain access to documents that made up failed recall petitions aimed at a Port Allen councilman. That petition drive's chairman, Larry Profit, was able to avoid turning over the documents and two contempt of court hearings as he had seizures in court just before the hearings began.
While Profit later cooperated and spoke with investigators, he did not turn over the documents the Sheriff's Office was attempting to acquire.
The WBR Sheriff's Office did say the file will remain open in case new evidence emerges that could lead to arrests in connection with the voter fraud.
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