Charles Town, W. Va. (WDVM) — A daughter of Harpers Ferry Mayor Wayne Bishop pleaded guilty to illegal voting in the most recent municipal election in June of 2019.
Tess Bishop, who registered to vote in the state of Utah in March of 2019, was charged with “unlawfully and knowingly” voting in the election where her father was up for re-election against opponent Chris Craig. Mayor Bishop only won the election by fourteen votes which lead Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Harvey to advise the presiding judge that the case warranted Ms. Bishop serving jail time, with the possibility of an alternative of community service. He did however note that Bishop willingly admitted responsibility for her actions and has no past criminal history.
Harvey also highlighted that Bishop’s actions had not only interfered with the election but caused a “properly cast vote (had) been canceled in an election where (one) vote could mean the difference between victory and defeat for a candidate or candidates.”
The Harpers Ferry municipal election still undecided as there are four additional provisional ballots to vote on tallies in the municipal election. The provisional ballots have been previously challenged by town council candidates Nancy Singleton Case and Debbie McGee. In the separate court case involving the provisional ballots, 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin, also the presiding judge over Bishop’s case, ordered the ballots to be recounted and later included in the recount because the names of the voters were not included in the poll book due to a technical error at the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles.
Ms. Bishop previously faced up to one year in jail as well as a fine of $1,000 after the first hearing in February of 2020. However, she entered a guilty plea deal that would allow her to avoid spending three days in jail by completing 24 hours of community service. She also requested to complete the community service out of state.
Judge McLaughlin ordered Ms. Bishop to complete the 24 hours of community service before February of 2021 and her request to complete the hours outside of West Virginia was denied.