HAMLIN, W.Va. -- Lincoln County commissioners Charles McCann and Charles Vance expect to appoint an interim county commissioner next week to fill in for Commissioner Thomas Ramey Jr., who resigned this week.Ramey, 32, resigned his seat after agreeing to plead guilty to federal election fraud charges. U.S. attorneys recently charged Ramey with lying to investigators about what he knew of a scheme to hijack the 2010 Lincoln County Democratic primary by stuffing the ballot box with illegally obtained absentee ballots.Two other Lincoln County officials -- former Sheriff Jerry Bowman and former County Clerk Donald Whitten -- pleaded guilty earlier this year for their part in the conspiracy. They also resigned their positions as part of plea agreements with federal prosecutors.Ramey was first appointed to the Lincoln County Commission in 2009, after longtime County Commissioner Buster Stowers died before his term was up. In 2010, Ramey won the primary for the seat with an unusually large number of absentee and early voting ballots.The large number of questionable ballots led to state and federal investigations that culminated with the three officials' agreeing to plead guilty to election fraud.
McCann, the County Commission president, said he and Vance hope to pick an interim replacement for Ramey at a regular meeting Aug. 2. Although he has not yet pleaded guilty, Ramey decided to go ahead and resign so county officials have time to put replacement candidates on the ballot for the November general election.Independents have until Aug. 1 to submit their names for the ballot. The Lincoln County Democratic and Republican executive committees have until Aug. 20 to pick candidates.Ramey's interim replacement will serve until the results of the November election are certified, McCann said.He said he and Vance expect to get together before the Aug. 2 meeting to talk about possible interim replacements. "I've got a list of two or three [candidates] and he probably has a list of two or three," McCann said. "We posted [a notice] on our door so people would know."McCann said he has received a few phone calls from people interested in the interim position.Reach Rusty Marks at email@example.com or 304-348-1215.