Charleston, W.Va. – WV Secretary of State Mac Warner announces another conviction of an election crime.
Fayette County resident Darrell Sharp, II, was indicted in May 2023 for unlawful voter registration and illegal voting.
In West Virginia, it is a crime to participate in elections while serving a sentence for a felony conviction, including any period of probation or parole. Sharp attempted to cast a ballot in the 2022 General Election while on parole for a felony conviction. Sharp’s registration had previously been canceled due to his prior felony conviction, so his ballot was challenged and ultimately not counted by the Fayette County Board of Canvassers. Four months later, while still on parole, Sharp attempted to register to vote at the WV Division of Motor Vehicles.
Following a jury trial in July 2023, presided over by Fayette County Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Blake, Jr., Sharp was found guilty of the misdemeanor charge of illegal voter registration. On September 18th, Judge Blake handed down the maximum sentence of one year in jail and imposed a $1,000 fine.
Secretary Warner emphasized, "If criminals commit election crimes in West Virginia, they will be investigated, caught, and face prosecution. Election crimes are egregious harms against our society and system of government, and we take every allegation of impropriety seriously."
Warner’s office actively collaborates with county clerks, law enforcement authorities, and prosecutors to investigate and pursue prosecution of all claims of voter fraud and election violations. Under Warner's leadership, the Secretary of State's office has secured numerous convictions to both punish the criminal activity and deter future instances of wrongdoing in elections.
"Cheating in an election is no longer tolerated in West Virginia," Warner said. "Our partnership with the county clerks and our team of experienced investigators have secured convictions throughout the state. Our efforts in this regard will persist."
The WV Secretary of State's investigation into Sharp was spearheaded by WVSOS Investigator Charlie Bryant, and the prosecution was led by Fayette County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Wes Toney.
This conviction for election law violations is the 4th conviction in 2023 and the 3rd since July.