An Eastern Michigan University student may face up to 93 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge of election fraud.
John Charles Scott, a 22-year-old West Bloomfield Township native, will have his name on the ballot as an independant candidate for Oakland County Commissioner when election day arrives. This was cause for suspicion, according to John A. Scott, the 64-year-old current Oakland County commissioner.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Commissioner Scott charged the EMU student with intentionally trying to confuse voters and possibly split the vote. He noticed irregularities on copies of John Charles Scott’s petitions that could possibly lead to a jail sentence and fines.
Commissioner Scott said, “Reviewing the petitions, I noticed several other people who are friends of mine were fooled into signing the petitions, thinking they were for me,” in an Oct. 10 Oakland Press article.
A warrant was issued in response to accusations that the individual circulating the petitions was not the independent candidate Scott, who had signed them claiming to be the witness for the signatures. The current commissioner was notified of these irregularities and contacted the Oakland County Sherriff’s Department, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“A successful democracy relies upon a vigilant electorate,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told the Detroit News. “In this case, wary citizens were able to provide information that uncovered these irregularities and brought them to our attention. It is shameful to take such a desperate action to purposefully deceive voters.”
Mason Herr, a freshman at EMU studying nursing, said if Scotts actions were deliberately intended to sway votes a three month sentence would fit the crime.
“It would definitely confuse voters,” Herr said. “It’s hard enough to figure out the ballots, nonetheless with two of the same names.”
John Charles Scott declined to give interviews regarding the matter, and despite the charges will appear on the district’s ballot in November. According to the Detroit Free Press, the incumbent Scott was able to receive permission to have a special designation on the ballot, marking him as the incumbent.
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