Election code violations against Bullskin supervisors waived to county court
Charges against three Bullskin Township supervisors accused of election code violations were waived to Fayette County Court on Thursday.
The men were scheduled for preliminary hearings before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. that day.
A countywide investigating grand jury recommended that charges be filed against Walter “Deb” Wiltrout, 67; Thomas Scott Keefer, 58; and William H. Geary, 62.
Keefer and Geary had been charged with election code violations and conspiracy at the recommendation of the same grand jury.
The grand jury said Keefer and Geary helped voters obtain and cast absentee ballots when the voters, most of whom were elderly, were able to go to the polls.
In addition, grand jurors found that Keefer and Geary failed to submit required declarations of physical disability with the ballots.
In the presentments on Keefer and Geary, the grand jury found that the two incumbent supervisors “were political allies” in support of Keefer's write-in campaign during the Nov. 8, 2011, election. Keefer mounted the write-in campaign after losing the Democratic nomination to David Butler.
Keefer won re-election in November 2011, defeating Butler by a vote count of 741-732, according to the presentment.
Jurors found that Geary and Keefer visited voters' homes, asked them to obtain applications for absentee ballots and then helped them complete the applications despite knowing that the voters would be able to vote in person on Election Day.
Once they assisted the voters, the men failed to fill out required declarations of physical disability with the ballots, according to the presentment.
State police charged Wiltrout with two misdemeanor counts each of unlawful assistance in voting and violation of provisions relating to absentee voting.
A countywide investigating grand jury recommended the charges be filed. In a presentment handed down this year, the jury found that Wiltrout failed to fill out declarations of assistance after helping two voters fill out and mail absentee ballots.
Jurors said there is no evidence Wiltrout “influenced” the two voters on their selections, but they nonetheless recommended the district attorney pursue charges.
In the presentment regarding Wiltrout, the jury noted that it does not believe that he conspired with Geary and Keefer regarding the allegations against them. But it found that Wiltrout failed to fill out declarations of assistance after helping two voters fill out and mail absentee ballots.
All three men are scheduled for a formal arraignment at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 16 in Courtroom Three of the Fayette County Courthouse.
They are all free on $5,000 unsecured bond.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 dead in Bullskin crash
- Connellsville Area High School’s marching band to play national anthem at PNC Park
- Fire heavily damages Connellsville home
- Purchase paves the way for razing of Connellsville building
- Late Frazier superintendent’s vision of new school nearly a reality
- Connellsville man accepts plea in break-ins
- Agriculture chief touts local products in Fayette County visit
- Injunction granted in East Huntingdon vet clinic dispute
- PORTERFIELD: Nicholson family reunion set at Indian Creek Valley Community Center
- 500 Brownsville elementary students to get backpacks, supplies
- Pedestrian killed after he was struck by SUV on Route 51