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Felony charges filed against Adair County man in voter fraud case

By   /   July 14, 2010  /   6 Comments

By ANDREW W. GRIFFIN

Oklahoma Watchdog, editor

Posted: July 14, 2010

andrew@oklahomawatchdog.org

STILWELL, Okla. – Reports have trickled in to Oklahoma Watchdog over the past several months regarding allegations of voter fraud taking place in Adair County in eastern Oklahoma.

The Adair County District Attorney’s office filed felony charges against Adair County resident Darryl Cates.

Cates, 73, of Westville, Okla. had four counts brought against him July 13th in the District Court of the 15th Judicial District of Oklahoma: two were for false affidavit in voting registration and two for false notarization of absentee ballot. This was signed off by Assistant District Attorney Larry Langley. The crime Cates is accused of is punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years and a fine up to $5,000.

District Attorney Jerry Moore said there was not a whole lot he could say about the case at this time.

Asked if there was a concern about the recent absentee ballots sent out earlier this month, which according to sources in Stilwell many of which were mailed to Cates, Moore said “I don’t know if there is an investigation on the ballots. I have no knowledge on the current election” absentee ballots.

Oklahoma Watchdog spoke with a well-respected source in Adair County who explained that the sort of activities Cates is alleged to have been involved in have been going on for “15 or more years.”

“Cates has two post office boxes, one in Stilwell and one in Westville and the ballots are mailed to them. He then takes the ballots to people who requested them. Then, he gets them to vote and notarizes them,” claimed the source.

“Something needs to be done. If (Cates) is not breaking the law, it’s certainly improper. People need to exercise their right to vote and not give him their ballot. They need to mail it themselves,” added the source.

“I don’t know if I can tell you a whole lot more,” added Moore.

A number said to be for Darryl Cates of Westville was called and the man who answered said the number did not belong to Cates.

Attempts to reach someone with the Adair County Election Board were unsuccessful.

Paul Ziriax, secretary with the Oklahoma State Election Board, said that his office received a report of “concerns” related to voter fraud from the Adair County Election Board. They, in turn, forwarded that information to the District Attorney’s office.

“Any time there are allegations of election fraud, we take these allegations and suspicions seriously,” Ziriax said.

Adair County Sheriff Austin Young was also unavailable and it was still unclear if Cates had been arrested.

Young was quoted in the Stilwell Express last week, when asked about alleged voting discrepancies in the last school board election in Cave Springs. Young said it was up to the DA to “pursue a case” and had confirmed an investigation was underway in the Cave Springs case.

Cates’ attorney, Rex Earl Starr of Stilwell, had not returned a call to Oklahoma Watchdog on late Wednesday afternoon.

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Andrew Griffin is a freelance journalist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.