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Posted at 7:47 PM ET, 12/21/2010

2 indicted in Arlington election-fraud case

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; 7:47 PM ET
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