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Posted at 6:25 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Two indicted for voter fraud in Arlington

By Christy Goodman

Two people working on the failed petition to change the form of Arlington County government this summer were indicted Monday for one count each of election fraud, said Andrew R. Parker, assistant commonwealth's attorney.

Cheryl Simmons and William Cockerham were indicted by an Arlington grand jury for voter fraud and a false statement on a required form, respectively, according to court documents. Both charges are felonies.

The change of government petition was trying to remove the current management powers of Arlington's county manager and place those responsibilities with the county board. The measure needed 14,350 signatures to get on the ballot.

Linda Lindberg, general registrar of Arlington County, rejected some 2,200 signatures that were signed off by Simmons in July after Lindberg learned Simmons was a felon. She was convicted of embezzlement.

The group opposed to the petition, the Coalition for Arlington Good Government, called several petition pages "suspicious" in a July statement. The coalition said in a statement, that four people, including Simmons and Cockerham, claimed under oath to have collected 68 percent of the petition signatures.

"It took an additional 34 circulators combined to provide the remaining 32 percent of the total number of petitions," the coalition statement said.

Trial dates will be set Wednesday morning. The maximum penalty could be a fine up to $2,500 and a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, Parker said.

By Christy Goodman  | December 21, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington, Politics, Virginia  
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People who wanted to give the Arlington County Board more power could actually be felons? That's like a dream come true.

Posted by: dtysko | December 21, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dtysko, it’s humorous that your assumption is these felons were democrats supportive of the Board. Don’t embarrass yourself. It's exactly the opposite. This was a movement promoted by the GOP party in Arlington to take power from County Manager who is hired by the 5 person Board (all Democrats) and provide decision making power fully to the Board, with the hope of then electing Republicans to serve on the Board and, in turn, gain some measure of power in the county. Currently, the GOP has no seat at the table and thus no power. In fact, the Arlington Board OPPOSED the Change in Government petition!

The other aspect of this proposal was to establish 5 specific Board-representation districts, rather than maintain the current at-large manner in which Board members run and serve (in county that has approx. 65% Democrat make-up, the GOP will never get one of their candidates elected to the Board when running at-large in entire County.) So goal was to gerrymander district boundaries in an attempt to create a GOP district in the affluent far north part of County. But the GOP's effort for collecting number of needed signatures was falling woefully short so these Republican frauds made up thousands of signatures to get the issue on the ballot anyway. Well, they got caught. The Republicans. The Republican Felons.

Why is it that Republicans always bash Democrats for being unethical, yet often we find it is the hypocrites in the GOP that have run afoul of the law? Next time Dtysko, save yourself some embarrassment and do some homework before weighing in on a public forum.

Posted by: 4jhawks | December 22, 2010 3:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't know nothin' 'bout no felons or fraud. But I do know at-large elections are a time-honored technique to dis-empower racial minorities (as well as Republicans...funny, huh?) Arlington should be ashamed.

And, besides, the preferred term is 'ex-offender' or '*ex*-felon.' (At least until convicted again.) Or maybe 'recovering felon'? 'Incipient voter'? Born-again balloteer? Get with the program, Arlington.

Language is everything.

Posted by: IncredulousAsEver | December 22, 2010 5:03 AM | Report abuse

If the Republicans would put forth a viable candidate who does not push ridiculous social agendas and wild slash-and-burn tax proposals, they might, just might get someone elected. The tide is turning in Arlington with one-party rule. The Board has never seen a tax hike it doesn't like, and I'm getting pretty tired of shelling out more and more each year. But until the GOP puts up some real flesh and blood with real ideas on how to change things, we're going to keep electing Democrats.

Posted by: luv2bikva | December 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The only electable Republican, luv2bikva, is one who masquerades as a Democrat. And even then election is unlikely since the Dem nomination process is controlled by the Dem Politburo. And it is that select group that decides who voters are going to "elect."

Posted by: ooyah32 | December 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"The Board has never seen a tax hike it doesn't like" nor a condo developer they don't embrace.

Posted by: BEEPEE | December 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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