ST. LOUIS (AP) — The 81-year-old mayor of a St. Louis suburb was charged Thursday with submitting fraudulent absentee voter applications in what prosecutors say was an effort to illegally influence the city’s municipal elections.
Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins is charged with four counts of committing an election offense and one forgery count. The charges were filed by Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who was assigned to the case as special prosecutor at the request of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.
The alleged crimes occurred in the run-up to the April 2018 municipal election in Berkeley, a city of about 9,000 residents. The mayor’s race was not on the ballot, but four city council positions were. Hoskins’ wife, Lee Etta Hoskins, was re-elected in that election by an 87-39 margin.
According to prosecutors, Hoskins submitted false absentee voter applications from at least three elderly residents. In one case, he went to the home of a couple in their 80s, who signed absentee voter applications not knowing what they were. The St. Louis County Board of Elections became suspicious and an employee identified the handwriting on the applications as that of Hoskins.
Later, Hoskins allegedly had the couple both sign absentee ballots, each ballot picking the same candidates. They later told investigators that they didn’t vote in the April 2018 election, according to the charging documents.
Hoskins didn’t immediately reply to phone messages and an email seeking comment.