From the Associated Press:
A Democratic state legislator from east Arkansas, his father and two campaign workers pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit election fraud after federal prosecutors said the lawmaker's campaign bribed absentee voters and destroyed ballots in a special election last year.
Prosecutors said Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum of Marion, Kent Hallum, Phillip Wayne Carter and Sam Malone acknowledged that they participated in a conspiracy to bribe voters to influence absentee votes in the Arkansas District 54 primary, runoff and general elections in 2011. The four were released pending a sentencing hearing…
Prosecutors said Hallum and his father, Kent, tasked Carter and Malone with obtaining absentee ballot applications for certain voters and assisting voters in filling out the ballots, "actually completing absentee ballots in some instances without regard to the voter's actual candidate choice."
The ballots were typically placed in unsealed envelopes before being mailed to local election officials.
"If a ballot contained a vote for Hudson Hallum's opponent, it was destroyed," prosecutors said in a bill of information filed with the court.
Prosecutors also accused the four of offering money and food to absentee voters in exchange for their support.
At one point, prosecutors said, Hallum told Carter: "We need to use that black limo and buy a couple cases of some cheap vodka and whiskey to get people to vote."…
Prosecutors said in the charging documents that the four tried to conceal the absentee voter fraud by using rental cars when collecting ballots and using coded language such as "gold tokens," ''duct work" and "watermelons" when referring to the absentee ballots.
Sentencing hearings will be held later for the four. The maximum penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison plus a potential fine of $250,000…