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Sep 22, 2010 7:53 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Buying Votes in Mamou

Early voting for the October 2nd election is underway, and scandal is following close behind in Mamou. Police arrested and charged Ricky John McGee with six counts of voter bribery. But, these allegations aren't coming as much of a shock to the community.

Mamou resident, Donald Lebleu says his nephew, Adam, is one of many who was recently paid for his vote. He says it's something that seems to happen during every election.

"It's not the first time, not the first time. Probably won't be the last," said Lebleu. "It's sad they had to pay for people's votes. You got the right to vote, that's all the freedom you got."

Adam Lebleu says he was approached by McGee on Monday. He says he was taken to the registrar's office, given $10, and a sheet of paper with a list of two candidates.

"...Wilda Chamberlain for mayor, and James Stafford Fontenot II for councilman at large," said Lebleu.

Police are not confirming who McGee was buying votes for, as they continue their investigation. But at McGee's home in Mamou, there is a campaign sign for incumbent Mayor Wilda Chamberlain on the lawn. McGee was booked into the Evangeline Parish jail and got out on a $10,000 bond. McGee was not home, however, when we tried to contact him for comment.

KATC was able to reach Mayor Chamberlain. But, when asked about the incident she said she would have to get back with us. As of late Wednesday, we were still unable to get a comment from her.

Meantime, one of Chamberlain's opponents, Robert Thompson, commented on the incident. He says it's one of the reasons he's running. Thompson says he wants to change the bad reputation Mamou has gotten over the years.

"It's an abomination for Evangeline Parish... you don't have enough money to buy my vote," said Thompson. "It's an old saying, politics as usual in Evangeline parish."

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