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Commissioner accused of voter fraud

 

Lawrence County Commission President Les Boggs is the focus of a pending investigation of voter fraud allegations, according to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

Boggs strongly denies the accusations, calling it a vendetta.

“I am not aware of the specifics of the allegations but it is my opinion that it is nothing more than a political and personal vendetta from someone who didn’t like the outcome of an election or doesn’t like me personally,” Boggs said Friday.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless confirmed Friday that the veteran Republican commissioner is the subject of an allegation that has been turned over to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, the investigative arm of the Ohio Attorney General’s office, a routine practice in cases of allegations involving elected officials.

“An allegation of tampering with absentee ballots has been received by my office,” Lawless said, adding that he received the allegation about a week ago but could not discuss the details of the case.

“(County Prosecuting Attorney) Brigham Anderson and I met concerning the allegation and made a request to BCI&I to make the investigation,” Lawless said. “They have confirmed they will investigate.”

No charges have been filed against the commissioner.

The county prosecutor’s office acts as the attorney for all officeholders in the county, so it would be a conflict of interest for his office to investigate, Anderson said.

“I told the sheriff any allegation against a sitting county commissioner would be referred to the special prosecutor in the attorney general’s office,” he said. “My office won’t be involved at all.”

It is unclear if the allegations were tied to the May 6 primary race or another election. Boggs was not on the Republican primary ballot.

Republicans on that ballot were Freddie Hayes Jr. and Wayne Taylor. Hayes won the primary with 2,444 votes over Taylor’s 1,659 votes.

Boggs was reelected to commission during the November 2012 election. His current term expires in January 2017. He was first elected to the office in 2008.

The sheriff said he plans to meet with the bureau investigators on Monday or Tuesday.