Update: County Commission Candidate Charged with Election Fraud
Misdemeanor warrant issued Wednesday for John Scott, a West Bloomfield resident challenging incumbent Republican Commissioner John A. Scott of Waterford.
- Updated: 10:07 a.m. with comment from Alexandria Riley.
Twenty-two year-old John Scott, of West Bloomfield, is expected to be arraigned Thursday morning at 51st District Court on a misdemeanor charge of election fraud, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
Chief assistant prosecutor Paul Walton said Wednesday that Scott, an independent candidate challenging incumbent County Commissioner John A. Scott (R-5th District) in the Nov. 6 election, claimed he witnessed signatures on a petition to put him on the ballot which investigators say was false.
The maximum penalty if convicted, Walton said, would be 93 days in jail.
The incumbent Scott, currently running for a sixth-consecutive term, said that he asked the Sheriff's Department to investigate in late August, after supporters of his said that they signed a petition to put him on the ballot.
Scott said, "it became clear that the challenger had run in order to confuse the election process. ... It seemed a little too coincidental that another man with the same name was in the running.
The incumbent Scott, who currently represents Keego Harbor, City Lake Angelus and Sylvan Lake with a portion of Waterford Township, paid a $100 fee in order to get on the ballot, foregoing the petition process.
Scott said that on separate occasions that a "20-something woman" and two men were circulating petitions on behalf of the challenger.
A supporter of Scott's took the license plate number of a vehicle being used by one of the suspicious petitioners, Scott said, discovering upon inquiry that the vehicle was registered to a third name on the ballot.
Alexandria Riley, 26, of Sylvan Lake, is running on the Democratic Party ticket for Scott's seat, which after redistricting will encompass West Bloomfield, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake Village, Keego Harbor and Waterford.
Riley on Thursday morning refuted the allegation, claiming that she personally nor her campaign are working with the challenger at all.
The challenger Scott did not return calls for comment.
The incumbent Scott had earlier worked for special designation on the ballot that will identify him as the incumbent candidate. He said his campaign plans to distribute fliers including a picture of the ballot.
"If you can’t debate in the arena of ideas and you have to resort to trickery, that’s uncalled for," Scott said. "I'd like to see the state consider revising the punishment to make it include some serious money, because it challenges the integrity of the electoral process."