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October 18, 2013

Man receives suspended voter fraud sentence

Former New Albany mayoral candidate Etheridge also pleaded guilty

NEW ALBANY — Joshua Clemons received a suspended sentence but had to forfeit his voting rights after he pleaded guilty to a felony related to voter fraud in the 2011 New Albany election.

Clemons pleaded guilty to one felony count of fraudulent delivery of ballots and was sentenced on Thursday in Floyd County Circuit Court. He received a suspended sentence of one year and 180 days, but Clemons had to forfeit his voting rights.

Former New Albany mayoral candidate Paul Etheridge was indicted with Clemons last year on charges including solicitation for fraudulent absentee ballot application and fraudulent delivery of ballots, both class D felonies.

The investigation was launched after Floyd County officials reported possible absentee ballot violations during the May 2011 Democratic Party primary. Etheridge was defeated by current Mayor Jeff Gahan in the primary.

Etheridge and Clemons were accused of garnering and marking absentee ballots from people they knew were ineligible to vote.

Etheridge pleaded guilty to a class D felony charge of forgery of official ballot endorsement in March, and also received a suspended one year and 180 day sentence  and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service.

“Ensuring the integrity of the election process is not only important, but the foundation of our republic alike,” Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson stated in a news release Friday. “I will continue to hold accountable those individuals who violate our election laws, and I encourage all election officials and voters to be diligent in doing their part to maintain the integrity of our elections.”

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