Two Democrats Sentenced to Prison for Vote-Buying Scheme in 2016 Election

A pair of Louisiana Democrats were sentenced to a year each in prison for violating federal election laws with a vote-buying scheme during the 2016 election.

Jerry Trabona and Kristian “Kris” Hart were the police chief and a City Council member, respectively in Amite City, about 50 miles northeast of Baton Rouge.

“A former police chief in Amite City, Louisiana and a former Amite City councilmember were each sentenced yesterday to one year in prison for violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to pay, or offer to pay, voters for voting in a federal election,” the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

“In addition to the prison sentence, the former police chief was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.”

Hart and Trabona were found guilty of identifying possible voters, transporting them to the polls and then paying them to vote for chosen candidates.

As in other cases, investigators found that the convicted pair gave the voters preselected candidates marked for them to vote for.

Further eroding faith in our elections, investigators found that Trabona required vote buyers to sign a contract saying they would not “make any overture of any kind to any voter or other person of financial award or benefit in exchange for a vote,” according to a vote fraud report by the Heritage Foundation.

A separate vote fraud report by the Heritage Foundation said Hart paid voters $20 each to vote the way he requested.

The convictions come from a 2018 FBI investigation into vote buying in Tangipahoa Parish, according to The Advocate of Baton Rouge.

Heritage maintains a database of thousands of cases of voter fraud from elections across the country, with proven instances of election fraud as well as convictions for the same.

The database is not presented as an exhaustive compilation but represents instances in which a “public official, usually a prosecutor, thought the fraud serious enough to act upon it.”

The Advocate said these convictions come on the heels of a separate investigation that resulted in a guilty plea from another former Amite City council member, Democrat Emmanuel Zanders, in July to one misdemeanor election fraud count.

“The Justice Department on Tuesday also announced guilty pleas by two more Tangipahoa Parish residents accused of buying votes in the 2016 election period. Sidney Smith, 68, of Amite City, and Calvin Batiste, 64, of Independence each face up to five years in prison for conspiring to buy votes,” the paper added.

The DOJ news release said Smith paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart.


Louisiana is not the only locale of vote fraud convictions. Early this week, a Walker County, Georgia, man was handed a stiff sentence for submitting another resident’s absentee ballot that accidentally wound up in his post office box.

Following his conviction for voter fraud, William Chase, 62, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for forging a ballot in Georgia’s January 2021 runoff election.

In another case, Monica Mendez of Port Lavaca, Texas, pleaded guilty to 26 felony charges, including three counts of illegal voting, seven counts of assisting a voter to submit a ballot by mail, eight counts of unlawful possession of a mail ballot and eight counts of election fraud.

There have been many other cases.

Last year, three women from Michigan were charged with felony vote fraud in the 2020 election, a Democrat official was charged with fraud in Connecticut, and a local election in California was overturned after some votes were deemed illegal.

All of these incidents and more run counter to the left’s constant claims that elections are more secure than ever and there is no voter fraud.

But it is clear from the Heritage Foundation’s database and the many news reports of charges and convictions that such claims are dubious.

Is it any wonder that so many Americans question the integrity of our elections these days?

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.